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YA Review – A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)

Here’s a fun middle-grade/YA fantasy. This will be a very quick read for an adult, but it’s got charm and some interesting characters.

Fourteen-year-old Mona only has a little magic, and it only works on dough. So of course she works in her aunt’s bakery. Her breads and rolls are the best, because she can convince the dough to be perfect. She’s got an animated gingerbread man who can sit on her shoulder, and then there’s Bob the slightly scary sourdough starter, who lives in a bucket in the basement.

When Mona finds the dead body of a girl in the bakery, she is shocked and scared of course, but when she’s accused of the murder herself she can’t believe it. Set free by the Duchess, she thinks life will go back to normal. But minor wizards like her are disappearing all over the city, and she’s not going to be immune. Caught up in court politics and the threat of a barbarian invasion, Mona’s going to have to step up her magic or all is lost.

I liked Mona’s naivety and hesitancy to break the rules, it’s a little different from the usual heroine. Most of the other characters are typical – the thief, the aunt, the evil inquisitor. But Bob the sourdough starter is wonderfully funny, and the dead horse witch is awesome. If you’d like some light fantasy, this will fit the bill.





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