Merry Wanderer of the Night + [young adult]

Sorcery and Cecelia

This book all started as a game between Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. They each took one character and wrote letters back and forth to each other with no intention on publishing, but here it is, published. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot is the story of two cousins spending their coming out apart. They live in a different world during 1817 London; a world where magic works. Kate is away in London and Cecy (or Cecelia) is in Essex. They each come out into society with a bigger bang than anyone expected, and solve a magical mystery along the way.

I really liked the idea of this book. Magic, London, history, and letters. I tend to really enjoy books where the narration changes, but I could tell that this started as a game and not as an attempt to write a novel. Since each author obviously had a certain plot in mind that they had to intertwine in the end there wasn't a lot of direction with the plot. I enjoy a lot of novels that aren't wrapped up in plot, but this was quite anti-climactic. I kind of got the feeling that they had to remove a few things that weren't part of the story, but I think a few things should have been added to keep the book moving. It was a short book, and sometimes I felt like I was dragging myself through it.

There really wasn't enough character description either. I had a hard time figuring out what the differences between Kate and Cecy were. Cecy is much more magical and Kate is a bit more practical, but other than that I had a hard time differentiating between the two. This was especially annoying in the beginning since there was now exposition and I was thrown directly into the exchange of these letters. One reason for the lack of character description could be that the letters were written between two women who already knew each other. The authors might have assumed their traits were coming through, but I didn't feel there was enough.

I've been kind of hard on this book so far, but compared to the other YA books I've read this past month this one wasn't as intriguing. As I've said the idea of the book is excellent, and there were some things I did enjoy. I particularly liked how well developed the magic in this book was. Cecy makes charm bags that protect others from bad magic. The books does a great job of describing these bags and how they are used. I also really enjoyed the male characters in this book. Kate and Cecy each have a love interest (James and Thomas respectively). If the female characters were more well developed, I might have enjoyed their relationships even more.

This novel earned a C.

Pub. Date: September 2004/1988
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback, 336 pp

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Sorcery and Cecelia {young adult}