Friday, March 4, 2011

REVIEW: Kat, Incorrigible

 Kat, Incorrigible
by Stephanie Burgis

Synopsis (from back of book):
Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?
Character Likability:
Kat: As a 12 year old, she was very convincing. Head strong, often not as clever as her adult counterparts… Kat, importantly, acted like a child. I am so tired of books that have a child protagonist that is, for all intents and purposes, an adult in kids clothing. This is NOT the case here. Kat comes across as being her age. Impulsive, inexperienced, eager to get herself into trouble and not always seeing the trap. She bickers with her older sisters and steps on the nerves of Stepmama all the time, but she means well and loves her family, and is a truly likable little girl… and she’s incredibly clever in that way that only a 12 year old tomboy can be… there is a lot of scheming, the exact kind I’ve heard in whispered tones from children who were up to something.
Elissa: Kat’s eldest sister, and an avid reader of Gothic Romances, after which she patterns her own behaviors. Ready to sacrifice her future and happiness to save her family from financial ruin, she spends most of the book being painfully proper.
Angeline: The middle child, and, like Kat, a user of magic. She gets herself into quite a bind practicing it, actually, and is also secreting away their Mama’s magic book. She’s feisty and full of attitude and I quite liked her.
Stepmama: Obsessed with cleaning up the family name and keeping them all from financial ruin, Stepmama comes across as a bit of a harsh character at first. It’s quickly apparent though… just from the sheer volume of time she spends with the children, and her willingness to bring them along, that she really is worried mostly about the family’s appearance to Society, and not a ‘wicked stepmother’.
Mr. Carlyle: The victim of Angeline’s spell to find her true love, he leaves college to come study under Kat’s father… upon first arrival, he’s bland and has a one track mind… to marry Angeline. This is due to the spell, and when it is later broken, Mr. Carlyle becomes quite the interesting character… and quite the ladies man J
Sir Neville: Possibly the most typical of characters in this story, he is the Villian. There really isn’t much question of this for most of the book. There was one point when I was reading where I distinctly remember thinking that the author could have taken the story in the direction of Pride and Prejudice and made Sir Neville not what he appeared. This wasn’t the case, however, and Sir Neville is exactly what he appears to be. I’m perfectly ok with that though, he is a very effective, menacing villain, capable of some surprises himself.
Mr. Gregson: Kat’s would-be magical mentor, he keeps tabs on her magical mischiefs and generally tries to make sure magic is, if nothing else, not abused. He’s a mysterious character and quite honestly, through most of the book, I wasn’t sure if he was a good or bad guy…
Mr. Collingwood: Sir Neville’s younger brother… and completely devoid of the evil encased in Sir Neville. Obviously another fancier of Gothic Romances, the interactions between Elissa and Mr. Collingwood are hilarious at the end of the book… and so is the disgust exhibited by Kat and Angeline.

Quality of Writing:
This was a fast flowing book that, once I picked up, I couldn’t put down, and once I reached the end, I wished there was more. Kat’s voice was energetic and entertaining, and the characters were always in motion… never a dull moment from the very start.

Please, please, PLEASE tell me there will be more of these? It ended by concluding the major points of this books plot, but it left it wide open for more books to be written.

The overall plot was a device seen before by readers of fantasy… but it wasn’t at all cliché. There were so many wonderful side stories, and quite frankly, the whole history of Kat’s mother, which remained elusive and mysterious, added quite a lot of depth to the plot. Even the Stepmother, usually a rather flat character in these types of stories (in so far as motivation and such), was given depth. The story never slowed pace and never got boring, there was constant action coming at you from all sides, but it never felt like too much, nor did it ever become confusing. It was a well mapped out, well thought out, well constructed plot that kept the reader interested and excited to see what would happen next. As I mentioned earlier… please tell me there will be more to this series. I’m incredibly interested in finding out more about Kat’s family, and in reading more by this author.

Believability of World:
Honestly, I know very little about this time period, so any historical inaccuracies were lost on me… but as for the incorporation of magic into a world where being proper is very important, I truly enjoyed it, and never felt as if anything was out of place.

Overall Grade: A


  1. this looks really cute. Can't wait to read it.

  2. I have an ARC of this but haven't had a chance to read it yet! This looks too cute! I definitely have to read this soon!

  3. I feel like I've been seeing this all over the place lately, and your review made it sound like such a cute story! I hadn't known before that it was a fantasy, and I love that Kat is truly just a fun little girl. Thanks for sharing!!