Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Kat Stephenson is back to cause more chaos! Stepmama drags the family to Bath to find Kat’s sister a new suitor. But, unknown to most of its gossipy visitors, Bath is full of wild magic. When Kat uncovers a plot to harness this magic in the Roman Baths, she finds her brother Charles is unwittingly involved. Kat must risk her newfound magical powers as she defies the Order of the Guardians to foil the plot and clear her brother’s name.
The second installment in the delightfully frothy series packs a punch. While I did not like it as much as I did its predecessor, I still found the novel effervescent and full of riotous happenings. Kat shows a bit more maturity in the sophomore novel which is always a welcome indication that she is growing through her experiences. I also liked how Burgis characterizes the stepmother as something more than her fairytale counterparts. Even though she cannot (or more actively, will not) see and understand things from the perspective of her stepdaughters’, in the end, she does want the best for them. Particularly poignant is the scene where she defends Kat from her castigating relatives.
The plot itself is engaging and as is becoming characteristic of the series, showcases another instance of the corruptibility of the adults who orbit around Kat. The fallibility of adult magic users where power is concerned is a recurring theme in the series. What interested me about this novel is how Burgis begins to delve in the side characters, fleshing them out and giving them more of a presence. As she did with the stepmother, so she does Kat’s father who has, till this novel, remained a largely absent character.
The sisterly conflicts in the novel are to be expected though they didn’t make me think too fondly of the middle sister. She is supposed to be older than Kat, yet she acts as though she is vastly immature. Her comeuppance is satisfying though. I don’t know what the next one in the series holds for us but after reading Renegade Magic, I am quite anxious to find out. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who is wibbling about whether to read it or not.