A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic

Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward make up my personal favorite book duo ever! Another book by Patricia C. Wrede, these are some of the only books that outdo her Enchanted Forest Chronicles (see my review here).

The easiest way to get these books now is probably to get A Matter of Magic, which is both books in one. If nothing else, it has my favorite cover. *captivated be shiny blue ball* Ooooooo @_@

Hahaha.

Quick overview

Set in a Pride and Prejudice time frame, Kim is a child living on the streets of London and posing as a boy so that she isn’t taken advantage of like the other homeless girls. She is offered a job by a sketchy-looking individual to break into a traveling street performer’s carriage and look for a particular item. Instead of finding it, she is caught by the magician (who know a lot more than street tricks), but instead of turning her in to the police for attempted theft, or just throwing her back onto the streets of London, Mairelon takes her in as an assistant to his show. But as the new team leaves London, trouble seems to follow them, as individuals from both Kim’s and the magician’s past life begin to show up in the oddest places.

The climax of this book is carefully thought out, and Wrede does an amazing job of bringing all of the scattered pieces together in a clever, yet fun, way.

The second book is equally clever, and is just as fun. New and old characters interact now in some of the highest social circles in London. The only thing that grows faster in high society than crime is gossip, and Kim and Mairelon have plenty of both to deal with, as Kim is now the magician’s ward. As if learning magic and upper society’s rules wasn’t hard enough, Kim also has to deal with more of her street rat past creeping up from behind her.

Conclusion

If you haven’t read them yet, you should definitely make some time in 2012 to look into these books. They’re not long, and if you are a fan of magic, Victorian England, and complex plots, then these books will keep you entertained.

The Screwtape Letters

On top of having two weeks left before finals, I have been finishing up the work on the flower bed (pics coming as soon as everything blooms), reading through Daniel, watching a sermon series on the Song of Songs, reading The Screwtape Letters, and playing Restaurant City on Facebook. The last being a waste of time that is oddly addicting, but nothing impressive.

Though I’m not sure the feeling I have is that of enjoyment when I read The Screwtape Letters, I would still recommend it. As the author, C.S. Lewis, said:

“The work through which I had to project myself while I spoke though Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst, and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness, and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.”

The Screwtape Letters are a series of 31 letters that Screwtape — an experienced devil — writes to his nephew — who is working on his first human “patient”. This could, of course, be done in a very good or very bad way. C.S. Lewis said that he had a “grudge” against his book, because he could only show us one side of the picture, and could not write like an angel in order to give us a picture of how we have someone fighting for us on the other side. That being said, I think he did an excellent job (at least in the firsts 11 letters that I have read;)

Reading this book is like learning through studying the enemy’s plans, and though I could spend a post per letter of this book, I will just pull one example out of the second chapter.

“At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of “Christians” in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothed is a real — though of course an unconscious — difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like.”

From- (nutmeg)'s photostream

Screwtape is trying to help his nephew “save” his patient, who has just become a Christian and is going to church for perhaps the first time in his life. Though C.S Lewis wrote this book in the 1930s, this topic, if anything, has become more relevant today. Lots of people have odd ideas about what churches and the body of Christ should look like. Through movies and their own imagination, they have created in their mined what a “good church” looks like. And when the people in that church are regular people just like them, it will clash with their idea. Subconsciously this may turn into a mark against that church.

But non-Christians and new Christians are not the only ones whom this might drive away. All of us as Christians need to be careful that we do not judge the person in the next seat over because he has clothes that are a little shaggy making him look uncaring, or too nice making the wearer look arrogant, or if the person is too heavy, or has squeaky shoes.

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.” ~Romans 14:1-3

Correct me if I’m wrong, but faith is much more important than appearance.

Church is a place to praise the LORD of Lords and to build faith. Your focus should be on God, not on the person next to you. At the same time, you should not wear clothes that will draw too much attention to yourself and distract other people (that’s simply being polite).

For people visiting church for the first time, know that the people who go there are sinners, just like you and everyone else. We are not more or less spiritual when we dress up nice.

The Enchanted Forest

Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons are the delightful books that make up the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Quick overview

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles follow the story of Princess Cimorene and her family and friends.

Cimorene is an improper princess who runs away and starts working for (you guessed it) a dragon. In the first book, Cimorene and friends have to save the day before the wizards make the wrong dragon king, and she finds an incredible use for soapy water with lemon juice.

In the next book, Mendanbar, the king of the Enchanted Forest, has to act quickly with Cimorene’s help to stop a possible war between the Enchanted Forest and the dragons. (Hmmm… A king that doesn’t want to get married, and a Princess who is improper… How do you think this will end?)

In the third book, Mendanbar’s magical sword is stolen, and it is up to Cimorene and her friends again to get it back. But the wizards are up to something no good!

And finally, the fourth book (which was actually published first), in which it is up to Cimorene’s child to save the Enchanted Forest and its king. Can he do it before all of the forest’s magic is stolen?

Five out of five stars

All four books are exceedingly funny!! And GREAT for ALL ages!!! And — if you couldn’t tell — I REALLY like them!!! ;)

Wrede is brilliant with her characters and story lines. Even when you know what will happen in the end because it is clichĂ©, Wrede gives it a new look, making everything exciting again!! She doesn’t get to the end by the same road that everyone else takes. And while she is writing her own story, she is giving a shout out to all the great fairy-tale stories that have been around for so long.

My family has a copy of each book, and, even though I have NO idea when I’ll be moving out, I got the books for myself just so that I’d always have them.

My Boy!

Hank the Cowdog


He’s seven years old this year, and he is the cutest little thing on the planet! Though we call him “Puppy,” his real name is Picasso. (We got him from my art teacher ;)

Especially now that my brother got a new dog, we sometimes like to refer to them as Hank and Drover.

If Puppy were all brown instead of white with brown, he would look a lot like Hank, too. For anyone who does not know who Hank the Cowdog is, I feel very sorry for you. Someone has clearly slacked in your education. Hank the Cowdog is the Head of Ranch Security, and he is the only thing that keeps his ranch from running smoothly… I mean he keeps things running smoothly… well, it’s one of the two. No matter how hard he tries, the trouble always gets blamed on him, the only one capable of saving the day.

Joining him, with very little help to offer, is Drover. Whenever there is anything to do besides eating, sleeping, or taking the praise that should be Hank’s, Drover’s leg gives him too much pain even to walk. This means that when the coyotes attack or Wallace and Junior (the vultures) stop by for a visit, it is up to Hank to run and hide… I mean to fight them off.

The author of this amazing and hilarious book series, John R. Erickson, is a genius when it comes to writing these books. And they are for all ages to enjoy!! They also make really good Christmas gifts for some of the younger people in your family.

Except for the fleas (at least most of the time) and the marking of tires, Puppy is a lot like Hank. He can be our Head of Farm Security with his deputy… **cough cough** Sparkle.

The picture is a link to the website. PLEASE check it out, or at least check a book out of the library and give it a try ;D

My Hank
and my brothers Drover