content“English magic faces its darkest hour”  

An enjoyable  romp with an engaging heroine, Prunella, coming to terms with the twin themes of magic and social manners.

I found the arch language a little difficult at times but, as the pace quickens, Cho gives some glorious scenes of mermaid and dragon familiars battling it out, a gentle love story and a couple of satisfying twists and reveals.

That magic has be to curtailed or diminished is a standard construct – or any difficulty could be very simply despatched  by a lead character; in Sorcerer to the Crown, it is done so by social convention (women aren’t allowed), an old ailment and sensibility (Zacharias) and a lack of magic coming from Fairy land.  All these reasons stand up well though perhaps are a trifle laboured for such a convention.

When Cho stops trying to explain and just has fun with her ideas, the plot speeds along with panache.  And, yes, I did stay up too late to finish it! There are delightful secondary characters: Damerell, Lady Wythe and Mak Genggang; and some well rounded walk-ons parts such as Mr Hsiang.

A very enjoyable novel with scope for sequels.

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