The Magician's Daughter

A young woman in Edwardian England is caught up in a dangerous struggle for the control of magic in The Magician's Daughter, a whimsical, adventurous coming-of-age fantasy novel from H.G. Parry (A Radical Act of Free Magic; The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep). Sixteen-year-old Biddy has spent as much of her life as she can recall on the magic-shrouded island of Hy-Brasil off the coast of Ireland, where the magician Rowan and his rabbit familiar, Hutchincroft, found and raised her. She knows the woods and wild magic of the island, but "London and Treasure Island and horses and dragons were all equally imagined to her." She asks to visit the mainland, but Rowan refuses with nonspecific concerns for her safety. His reluctance is overruled when he needs Biddy's help to discover the plans of the current head of the British Council of Mages, who has responded to the growing scarcity of magic by hoarding it. Biddy enters a London industrial school as bait for the Council, but the plan quickly fails and she lands in a dungeon. The fate of magic and Rowan's life hang in the balance as Biddy tries to outrun and outwit the most dangerous magicians in England.

Parry pits a powerless, sheltered heroine against dire forces, but Biddy draws determination from her love for her adoptive family and her conviction that magic belongs in the world, even though she herself is unable to use it. Themes of antiauthoritarianism and equity anchor this sometimes dark but ultimately sweet and big-hearted fantasy. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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