A Question of Magic by E.D. Baker is a middle grade retelling of the Baba Yaga legend and it is just too cute! I’m a fan of wittiness in normally inanimate objects, so talking skulls that bit unwanted neighbors and liked to get polished was just awesome. A Question of Magic seemed to tell an interesting spin on the Baba Yaga legend, though I’m no expert. I enjoyed the historic but still fantastical feel, and A Question of Magic is solidly and safely in the middle grade age range ;-).
Note: I received A Question of Magic through Netgalley for an honest review.
A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker
Published by Bloomsbury on Oct. 1st, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Length: 272 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository
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Serafina was living the normal life of a village girl, when she gets a mysterious letter--her first letter ever, in fact--from a great aunt she's never heard of in another village. Little does 'Fina know, her great aunt is actually a Baba Yaga, a magical witch who lives in an even more magical cottage.
Summoned to the cottage, Serafina's life takes an amazing turn as she finds herself becoming the new Baba Yaga. But leaving behind home and the boy she loves isn't easy, and as Serafina grows into her new and magical role answering the first question any stranger might ask her with the truth, she also learns about the person she's meant to be, and that telling the future doesn't always mean knowing the right answers.
- I haven’t run into a Baba Yaga retelling before, so I was very excited to see that A Question of Magic was retelling a less common myth. The lore of Baba Yaga in A Question of Magic was fresh and interesting, going beyond what I know of the legend.
- Seriously, talking skulls that joke, defend, and blush (if they could!) are the best. Add in a cursed feline companion dubbed Maks and I have all the adorable secondary characters I need :D.
- In A Question of Magic, Baba Yaga must answer truthfully the first question any one person asks of her. This led to some very clever plot devices since Kings and Princes ask careful and devious questions.
- A Question of Magic also pulled in some of the more uncommon fantasy critters: giants, dryads, and fairies in the old and new myths! <3 nice giants :).
- There was a fair bit of info dumping in A Question of Magic, I assume to help a younger audience keep up with the story, but I think this can be done more subtly.
- Along the same lines, A Question of Magic is determined to hit you over the head with the intended lessons of friendship and loyalty. Again, I would prefer more subtlety and I think that even a young audience would agree.
A Question of Magic was a delightful tale, taking the Baba Yaga myth for a new coat of paint. I’m loving these less common myths and fantasy elements being brought into the retelling-craze. It also helps me remember them all :D. I definitely recommend this for fantasy loving parents since it’s a gentler version of Baba Yaga than most ;-).