I’ve seen it called Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. This feels an appropriate comparison.
Katherine Ann Stephenson, or Kat for short, is a preteen, motherless, precocious, and incorrigible daughter of a simple parson and a witch. Sounds like an odd combination, no? She has two older sisters, one who appears to want to live (and die) like in a Gothic novel and another who is just as witchy as their mother. Kat also possesses (dum dum dum) a wicked step-mother! Plus! Kat is just as impulsive, just as curious, just as impish and precious as any Jane Austen character. She reminds me a bit of Emma. And all she wants to do is help.
Unlike Emma, Kat has powers. Powers like her sister, but also powers like her mother. Her mother was a witch, but (and honestly, I didn’t quite understand what this is) a Guardian. And so is Kat. Basically she can do magic and she seems to be expected to help protect the country. From what, it’s never really clear to me. The main thing on Kat’s mind is helping her family.
See, they need money. Money that her oldest sister, Elissa, is expected to make by making an advantageous marriage, which is right inline with her martyr-like Gothic mindset. Her other sister, Angeline is casting love spells that, well, end up hilariously gone awry. Her father is weak. Her stepmother is mostly evil. And it appears that there may be some more interested in Kat’s magic skills than anything else.
That’s not the best summary I’ve ever written, but it’s the best I can do with readathon burnout. I can tell you this; if this book had been around when I was a kid, I would have devoured it! Kat is an amazing character and I loved her narrative voice. She’s smart, witty, rambunctious… all I wanted to be when I was a twelve-year-old awkward child! Her more modern ways of thinking didn’t even bother me. To me, it felt natural. Plus, she’s a girl! A heroine! Something we all need more of. And she is just all around good fun. And so is this story. Stephanie Burgis has written a creative story with lots of heart. The villains may be slightly cookie-cutter, but it’s the main characters who shine, and who should. Her dialogue is snappy and just down-right delightful. I already have a ten-year-old in mind for this. I’m sure she’ll love it. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
They also said:
KAT, INCORRIGIBLE charmed me into a place of childlike giddiness that I haven’t encountered in too many years. This deceptively easy read is actually rich with character development and possibilities for future books in the series. Without a doubt I would not hesitate to hand this out to every girl I know between the ages of 10 and 14, and I highly recommend you check this delightful book out, and fall under Kat’s benevolent charms. I can’t wait for more of Kat’s adventures!
Those are some big themes for a small book, and I barely even touched on the magic aspect. Really just a fun read with a lot of heart and a bright, sparkling main character. I’m looking forward to the next two installments (which unfortunately only come out one each year).