A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

eBook, 306 pages

English language

Published July 21, 2020

ISBN:
978-1-393-51910-2
Copied ISBN!
Goodreads:
54439932

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (72 reviews)

Fourteen year old Mona is a baker but she is also a not-very-powerful wizard - her medium of choice is dough. She can make pastries dance and bread light and fluffy - nothing extreme or dangerous. But when someone starts killing off all the wizards her minor wizard status doesn't matter and she has to run or be killed. But the people killing off the wizards have to be stopped and Mona doesn't let her lowly abilities stop her - a wizard's got to do what a wizard's got to do.

Such a clever, funny, amazing story.

3 editions

Fun adventure for young readers

No rating

This was a quick and fun story that I think would appeal to young readers. The plot was straightforward and clearly explained: a bit too clearly for my tastes, with heavy-handed social commentary, but then I’m certainly not young! I liked that Mona had a good relationship with her aunt and uncle. She did came across as younger than her stated 14, especially in the medieval-ish setting. She struck me more as an observer and pushed around by circumstances (and other people’s actions/decisions) than having her own agency, which added to the “young” feel. The gingerbread man was fun.

Fun and original take on the teenage wizard genre

5 stars

With an immortal carnivorous sourdough starter named Bob (who may or may not count as a familiar).

In case that's not enough to convince you:

Teenage assistant baker Mona's only magic talent is with bread. She can make it staler or fresher, keep it from burning, make gingerbread men dance, and occasionally something more dramatic like Bob. (Bob was an accident, but he's quite handy around the bakery.) She wasn't prepared to be suspect number one in a rash of wizard murders, live on the run, or to protect the city from a threat as its only remaining mage.

Fun characters, fun concepts, and a quest that runs through the city's worst slums to the palace. Mona has to navigate both from her comfortable shopkeeper's life, learning what happens when the system she relied on to protect her is turned against her. And how the system can be manipulated against …

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

4.0 A nice little narrative with engaging characters that avoids hero worshipping. It's a little predictable with the character deaths and the worldbuilding is quite basic, except for the magic, but overall it's very enjoyable. The main thing that annoyed me is the disparity between the city descriotions in the first and second half. First it's all canals and open waterways, then it seems like a traditional kind of city with a big wall all around. Nothing that couldn't be fixed with a couple of sentences, but I really wanted to see some difficulties with transporting the "baked goods" to the gates.

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

5/5

Absolutely great book! I loved the idea of the various types of minor magic and clever uses of them throughout the story. The main character’s magic is just so cute and well done. Absolutely loved how she uses it to make cookies dance and the pet sourdough starter was amazing! It was a great comforting read and highly recommended.

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is probably closer to a 3.5 for me. I did mostly enjoy it but there were two things that bothered me: 1) the Duchess is essentially the monarch of the land and when the kids tell her there's a possible plot to overthrow her, she bursts out crying; 2) During the middle of a battle, the aunt - who the author has gone to great pains to make clear that this is a hefty no-nonsense woman - stands around wringing her hands. Literally wringing her hands.

Why?

This was written by a woman and features a 14 year old girl as a protagonist. Why have the two most important women in this girl's life be USELESS in times of stress? From the author's note, I see that maybe this wasn't really intended to be a children's book, but as a woman I don't understand why you'd portray a powerful …

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Great book and a fun read. Only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is it badly needs an editor/proof reader.

SPOILERS BELOW

There are parts where the author obviously changed Uncle Albert's name but it never got corrected. There are times where the golems are referred to as cookies when they aren't. Just little things like that. The story is fantastic and fun, but just little English major nitpicking really.

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A 14 year old whose magic only works with baking. Her accidentally-created familiars, a bucket of sapient sourdough starter called Bob, and an animated gingerbread man. A city being undermined from within by totalitarian forces and under attack from the outside. And the army and other wizards unavailable...

T. Kingfisher is my favourite author discovery of this year, and since I do a lot of baking myself I couldn't wait to read this one. It's a YA book, no matter what her publishers think; yes, it starts with the discovery of a dead body, but have you ever read the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales? Kids love that dark stuff. It's in the same tone as "Minor Mage" (possibly in the same universe but it's hard to tell, they don't directly relate at all). Whether Kingfisher's characters are adult or teen, they always have a very down-to-earth and practical view …

Review of "A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It is a well-known fact that if you want to make me rave about your book forever and forever the number one thing you can do is be clever.  Be imaginative.  Think of something that is a smart variation on something I've seen a million times and I will love you forever.  That is the magic of this book.  We've all seen the story of the young person who has to save everyone despite only have a little bit of talent.  The genius of this story is to make that little bit of talent the ability to use magic to make baked goods and use that to power a hero's tale.  Mona is fourteen and works in her Aunt Tabitha's bakery.  She uses her magic to make the dough behave and sometimes to make gingerbread men dance for customers.  Once she accidentally put too much magic into saving a sourdough …

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Subjects

  • Fantasy fiction
  • speculative fiction
  • bakery
  • wizards
  • magic
  • gingerbread
  • cooking
  • familiars
  • sour dough starter
  • Fiction, fantasy, general
  • Fiction, action & adventure

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