Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review - Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (3/5 stars)

Kat, IncorrigibleReading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: April 5, 2011
ISBN-13:  978-1416994473
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in Kat, Incorrigible series
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an ARC of the book through the Amazon Vine program.  This is one of those books that looked really cute and I was dying to read it last year, but then the release was delayed so I feel like I was waiting forever to read it.  When I finally got around to reading it I thought it was cute and fun, but also a bit boring at parts.  I think maybe since my expectations were so high I was left a bit disappointed.

The book is set in Victorian England, Kat lives were her brother, two older sisters, stepmother, and father.  One of Kat's older sisters is being forced to marry to help pay off the family's gambling debt (caused by her brother Charlie).  Kat has an idea to help her sister, but then she finds out that her middle sister Angeline has an even better plan.  Angeline is trying to use Kat's mother's spellbooks to come up with a solution.  Things get complicated when Kat falls into a compact mirror of her mother's and finds out that she is a Guardian who is supposed to hunt down witches. Will they be able to sort everything out and save Kat's eldest sister from a horribly unfortunate marriage?

This book was very much like Pride and Prejudice with a little magic and mayhem thrown in.  It is super cute and fun but at times it was also a bit predictable and slow.  Kat is your typical "I don't like this Victorian lady stuff" kind of girl; she wants to be a boy and wants nothing to do with proper behavior.  Her sisters are more typical Victoria ladies; her eldest sister is pretty vanilla and only wants to sacrifice her happiness for the good of the family.  Her middle sister Angelina had the most spunk of them all and is fun to read about.

I am not sure if it was just my mood or what, but despite all of the magic and Guardian and witch stuff, I found the plot to be pretty bland and had trouble staying focused on the story.  By the time I got to the end of the book instead of wanting more, I was thinking "well, glad I am done with that".  By the end of it all I kind of wished I had just re-read Pride and Prejudice, instead of read this.  I am having trouble pinpointing exactly what bored me about this book; I think it was mostly the predictability, the simple writing style, and the over-cuteness of it all.  Burgis's writing style is easy to read, but at the same time lacks much description.

The book ends well enough, although it is clear that this book is mainly an introduction to Kat and her family and that there will be many books to come.

Overall it was okay.  I really wanted to love this book; but I ended up finding the characters to be stereotypical, the plot predictable, and parts of the book just plain boring.  It does look like the story will get more interesting and complex in future books.  People who like Victorian novels with a plucky girl lead might like this book.  It reminds of Price and Prejudice with a bit of magic and mayhem thrown in.  I personally just had trouble getting engaged in the story and relating to the characters, so I probably won't be reading any more of these books in the future.

This book goes towards the following challenges:

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