A Most Magical Girl


I have absolutely adored Karen Foxlee's latest books, Dragonskin and Lenny's Book of Everything. A Most Magical Girl is an earlier book, from 2016, and it's a more old-fashioned story than those other novels -- it's set in Victorian London, among witches and sorcerers and trolls, and involves a sinister contraption that extracts sadness from objects (tears of grief on a handkerchief, a dead baby's shoes) to create dark magic. It's inventive and lyrical, as you'd expect from Foxlee; though she's not quite at the peak of her powers here, it's interesting to see her style in evolution.

The trio of unlikely allies, sheltered but gifted Annabel, wild Kitty and the kind troll Hafwen, are a lot of fun together as they follow their quest through the netherworld of Under London. I loved the map that appears on Annabel's skin, the gate of bones, and many other touches that lift this above a standard fantasy. A Most Magical Girl is a lovely, most magical tale.

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