Review Blog

Jan 19 2017

A most magical girl by Karen Foxlee

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Picccadilly Press, 2016. ISBN 9781848125742
(Age: 10+) Magic. Good vs evil. Friendship. Heroism. Annabel Grey is an ordinary but vibrant girl living in London during the era when young ladies were raised to decorate and adorn and needed to learn the refinements of a delicate life with appropriate manners. Her mother has removed Annabel from her genteel life and deposited her with her rather elderly and unusual Great Aunts - who also happen to own a magic shop and practice magical skills. Annabel is a reluctant participant in the Magic Arts, but she soon learns that although her mother had turned her back on the magical world, now Annabel is needed to save London from the overbearing influence of the Dark Magic wielded by the ironically rather awful Mr Angel. This unexpected role as the good and innocent rescuer of the aging witch and magic community (and all of London as well) from the oppression of Mr Angel, takes Annabel into Under London, the world that exists in parallel to the streets she knows. With an unenthusiastic assistant in Kitty, she also meets Trolls and Dragons as she attempts to rescue the White Wand that will protect the order of life in London.
This story has parallels to the Harry Potter saga in that the hero (heroine) of the story is good, brave and reluctant, and relies on the help of trusty friends to overcome evil influences. In comparison it is considerably shorter; but it does involve entry into the magical world with creatures and magical talents and a very dark and malevolent opposition. This dark and oppressive adversary has his story and evil plans scattered through Annabel's narrative, and the reader recognises the growing threat. Because it is shorter, it may be more accessible to young readers and with a female lead character it may be appreciated by readers looking for a strong female heroine. The magic and witch world is obviously a fantasy adventure, and there are some small moments of humour hidden amongst the drama.
Carolyn Hull

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