jacey: (Default)
Publication 25th February 2019. Advance review copy supplied by the author.

I love Stephanie Burgis' Harwood books. This is the second short novel (or maybe novella – not sure of the word count) which follows on from Snowspelled. There was a prequel (shorter) novella (Spellswept) featuring Amy and Jonathan Harwood between the two longer stories. Quick background note. This is a version of Britain (Angland) where strong women become politicians and the more 'delicate and emotional' men (well, those with talents, anyway) become magicians. And woe betide anyone who bucks the gender trend. In Thornbound. Cassandra Harwood is newly married to magician Wrexham, and work-life balance for both of them is proving problematical. Some years earlier she managed to scandalise the nation by becoming the first female magician, but a year ago she overstepped magical boundaries so can no longer practise magic herself as casting a spell would kill her. She still has the knowledge, however, so she can teach it. Despite the strong disapproval of the Boudiccate (Angland's all-female government) she begins the radical task of setting up a school for female magicians. A team of antagonistic inspectors from the Boudiccate are an immediate threat to the new school, but there's an even bigger threat looming from the direction of the bluebell wood adjacent to the school. An ancient treaty with the Fey is in danger. Cassandra (and her friends) must battle political and magical enemies.
Cassandra is a good, if flawed, character. She's altogether too impulsive for her own good sometimes. We don't get to see much of Wrexham in this particular story, but it's nice to see Amy in a strong supporting role. I'm looking forward to seeing more Harwood books in future.
jacey: (Default)
I read Stephanie Burgess' Snowspelled last year and was very happy to make another trip into her Angland, where the women are the politicians and the men are magicians. Politicians who enter the Boudiccate always have a magician husband. Amy Standish is an ambitious young woman who has taken a position with powerful politician Miranda Harwood in order to be boosted to the ranks of the Boudiccate. For that she needs an advantageous marriage with a magician, and Miranda has introduced her to the perfect one, except he's neither perfect nor 'the one'. Unfortunately the one Amy is drawn to is Amanda's son, Jonathan, who has flatly refused to train as a magician, something no one can understand. Amy doesn't understand either, until she discovers something about Jonathan's sister, Cassandra. This is a story about turning the established order on its head. At novella length, it's a perfect read-in-a-day story. (And 10/10 for a lovely cover.)

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