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A Most Magical Girl

Review

A Most Magical Girl

Annabel Grey is poised to become a respectable young lady, trained in the ornamental arts of needlepoint and the pianoforte. But in the week before her thirteenth birthday, Annabel is pulled from finishing school and sent to live with her estranged aunts at their magic shop in London. Her mother offers no explanation for the sudden move, though she promises to return.

"A MOST MAGICAL GIRL delivers a compelling mix of historical insight and fantastical adventure....Foxlee [brings] us a fierce and determined heroine."

Her time at Miss Finch’s Academy for Young Ladies has in no way prepared Annabel for a crash course in witchcraft. Slowly and painfully, Annabel learns to perform the daily chores necessary for maintaining the magic shop. Menial tasks soon give way to the more difficult work of flying broomsticks and peering into prophetic mirrors.

Time is of the essence, as the demonic Mr. Angel is raising an army of shadowlings to rule over London with his Dark Magic Extracting Machine. There’s a rumor amidst the magic community that Annabel is the “most magical girl” fated to defend humanity against Mr. Angel. With help from Kitty --- a betwixter who travels between the lands of humans and faeries --- Annabel sets off in search of the sacred Moreover Wand. Journeying through London Below, they encounter trolls and other enchanted creatures, none of which give a whit about the proper way to serve tea.

A MOST MAGICAL GIRL delivers a compelling mix of historical insight and fantastical adventure. In the absurdist style of Lewis Carroll, Karen Foxlee playfully subverts the tropes of the Victorian coming-of-age novel to bring us a fierce and determined heroine. Chapters open with maxims care of that expert in feminine decorum, Miss Finch, making Annabel’s defiance all the more satisfying.

Reviewed by Emma Kantor on August 22, 2016

A Most Magical Girl
by Karen Foxlee