Review: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Author: T. Kingfisher
Publisher: Argyll Productions
Released: July 21, 2020
Received: Library
Warnings: Animal death

4 1/2 kitties

A couple of months ago, I read my first novel by T. Kingfisher (Nettle & Bone, for those that are curious). I was instantly hooked. From that moment, I promised myself to try and snag the rest of her books, and thankfully my local library is willing to work with me on that count! First up on the list, we have A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, which is a delightful name. I can tell you that I enjoyed the book just as much as the title.

This is a world where magic exists, but no two magics are alike. One person may be able to bend water to their will, while the other can communicate with birds. It’s very individualized magic, with no instructors available to help those master their gifts.

Enter Mona. Her magic is bread. No, really – she can work with any dough, encouraging it to be fluffy or not burn. Her specialty is sourdough. Given Mona’s gifts, she never thought the city’s fate would rest in her hands. Yet her expectations are about to change.

“You expect heroes to survive terrible things. If you give them a medal, then you don’t ever have to ask why the terrible thing happened in the first place. Or try to fix it.”

Oh wow! A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive was such a delight to read! It’s endearing, emotional, and has more than its fair share of humor. But that description doesn’t do this book justice. It is profoundly moving, portraying the complexity of human nature, especially regarding war, trauma, and otherness.

It was easy for me to become enchanted with this book. Mona and her abilities are unique, and while there were familiar parts to her story (mainly the battle revolving around magic), it feels different in this context.

There are times when A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive hits hard, and then there are times when I could do nothing but giggle. There are dozens of quotes worthy of remembrance from this book – it’s that good.

I love the way T. Kingfisher (which is a pseudonym, I know) looks at the world and creates something new and exciting. Her take on magic is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I have to admit it was a lot of fun to read.

This is the second novel I’ve read by T. Kingfisher, and I am blown away by how different the two are from each other. And yet, both are fantastic, just in their own unique ways. I can’t wait to choose my next read!

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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