Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kat, Incorrigible

Kat, Incorrigible

Stephanie Burgis
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 978-1416994473

When Kat was just a baby her mother Olivia died, and since then Kat’s Papa and Stepmama have locked away all of Olivia’s belongings hoping that Kat and her two older sisters will forget Olivia and her rather unorthodox behavior. Olivia was a witch, and she did not try very hard to keep her magical abilities hidden. Kat’s sisters Elissa and Angeline have Olivia’s old magic books, but Kat has never been allowed to examine them.

   Thanks to Kat’s big brother Charles, the family is in a terrible fix. Charles has been sent down from Oxford and he has acquired gambling debts that the family does not have the funds to pay off. The only solution that anyone can come up with is for Elissa to marry Sir Neville, a rich man who can save the family from disgrace and Charles from debtor’s prison. Kat is staunchly against Elissa sacrificing herself in this way, and she is determined to do what she can to prevent such a marriage.

   By sheer luck Kat finds Olivia’s magic books in Angeline’s room and she takes them, hoping to find out what Angeline has been doing with them. Kat does not have to wait long to find out. A young man turns up and it is immediately clear that Angeline has bewitched the man using a love spell of some kind. Kat is very annoyed by this. How will this love spell help the family in any meaningful way? Kat decides to blackmail Angeline into telling her why Angeline is so against Elissa marrying Sir Neville. Angeline is thus forced to tell Kat that it is said that Sir Neville killed his first wife. Angeline is determined that she will find a wealthy fiancé of her own so that she save Elissa.

   When it is clear that Elissa’s magical efforts are not working, Kat take matters into her own unconventional hands. She breaks into the cabinet where Olivia’s things are kept. One of the items in the cabinet is a gold travel mirror. When Kat opens the mirror she is transported to a huge room where she meets two members of the Order of Guardians. She finds out that Olivia was a member of the Order, but when she insisted on flaunting her spell casting abilities, she was exiled from the Order. Olivia was a natural born Guardian who was a gifted magic-worker, and she was also a witch who could cast spells. It would appear that Kat is her heir, and she too is a magic-worker.  Kat is told that she needs to be trained to use her abilities, and that it would be best if she surrendered Olivia’s magic books to the Order.

   Kat has no interest in being trained by people who betrayed her mother, and she has no intention of giving them Olivia’s books. Kat’s first priority is to save Elissa from a loveless and potentially dangerous marriage. She has no idea how to she is going to do this. Yet.

   In this first book about Kat and her magical misadventures, the author gives readers a tale that is full of colorful characters, ridiculous situations, and delicious secrets. One never really knows what Kat is going to do next.