Monday, June 18, 2012

The Magical, Mystery Chocolate Pot

Published: May 22nd, 2012 (as eBook, originally published April 15th, 1988)
Sorcery & Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate #1)
By: Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Open Road for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9781453254677

A great deal is happening in London and the country this season. For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There's also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he's not doing a very good job of it--so just what are his intentions?) And then there's Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is. Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren't having so much fun!


   The year is 1817 in an England where magic is a natural part of life.  Kate and Cecelia are cousins that have trouble staying out of mischief when they are together.  That's why their Aunts decide to separate them for the summer - Kate will go to London for her Season with her younger sister Georgina and Cecelia will stay in the country with her brother Oliver.  It turns out that Kate doesn't need Cecelia around to get into trouble and this becomes apparent when she gets in the middle of a feud between an undetermined assasin and the Marquis of Schofield.  On the other hand, Cecy's summer in the country has become just as strange when she discovers neighbor James Tarleton spying on her very shy (and strangely popular) friend Dorothea.  Neither man will explain things to Kate or Cecy, so they decide to investigate the increasingly odd goings-on for themselves.  Meanwhile, they are corresponding everything to one another with surprising dedication and wit.  Someone has set a rather horrible plan into motion that may involve harm to the Queen herself - but it won't happen if Kate and Cecy have anything to say about it.  And what does an enchanted chocolate pot have to do with anything?  This book started off a little bit slowly, but once it got going it was so much fun!  I loved the intrigue surrounding (of all the ridiculous objects) the choclate pot, the strange enchantment of Dorothea and the plots swirling around the whole affair.  The idea of proper and boorish Oliver being turned into a tree was absolutely hilarious, as were most of the things that happend in the country setting.  The London issues were a slight bit more of the alarming sort.  I adored the letters between Cecy and Kate.  You could tell how fond of each other they were and how much they trusted each other. I thought the romances were well-done, if obvious.  My favorite was not Kate and the Marquis (Thomas) though it was wonderful.  I loved Cecy and Thomas because of how truly nonsensically they started out and by the end of things, I couldn't imagine them without each other.  At times things did seem disjointed, considering this book began as a letter game between the authors, with no real direction.  But other than that I loved the plot, characters, and the conclusion fit very well for me.  I loved this book quite a bit and would highly recommend it.  If the fact that it's part of a series is off-putting, be glad to know that this book can stand on its own.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published as an eBook on May 22nd, 2012.*

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