Saturday, December 22, 2012

On Hot Chocolate: A Review of Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Sorcery & Cecelia (Cecilia and Kate, #1)I'm deeply surprised to report that I did not love this book. It's weird, I know, because I fully expected to. It has a lot of elements that I really like. It's a Regency era historical. It has magic. It's told in letters. There is chocolate, for heaven's sake. And yet, for me, that special happy something is just plain missing.

So, anyway, the book is told in letters sent back and forth between Kate, who is having her first season in London, and Cecelia, who is unhappy to be left behind this year. But this is no ordinary Regency England, and magic is afoot. Not long into the story, Kate is very nearly poisoned by hot chocolate from a mysterious enchanted pot.

So, as I said, all of the elements at play in this book are appealing. The heroines are both spunky and likeable. The heroes made good matches for them. The magic is interesting and not overly complicated.

And yet...I think the letter writing format through the pace off a bit. I felt like it took a long time for things to happen, and I felt several steps removed from the story because of this style of storytelling. Honestly, I usually like letters and journals and that sort of thing. But not this time. This time it felt forced and faked. The dialogue and details in particular--no one remembers conversations that they have word for word, and even few people would relay those conversations in quotations. I'm nitpicking, of course, but this is honestly the only way I have to explain why it was a bit torturous for me to finish this book.

Would I recommend it anyway? Honestly, yes, because there are a lot of good things about it, and I think that had I read it in a more patient mood I might have enjoyed it more. But I wouldn't put it at the top of your pile. 3 stars. 

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