Friday, February 12, 2016

Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler, 2016

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Bee is an orphan, alone in a poor, crumbling kingdom. In desperation, she steals a bun from a bakery, and to her surprise, the baker offers her a place at his shop. As she learns to bake, Bee discovers that she has a magical power. When a new friend desperately needs her help against an evil mage, Bee wonders what an orphan girl with only a small bit of magic can do. Bee's journey to help her friend becomes a journey to save the kingdom, and a discovery of the meaning of family.
(336 pages)

First, a confession: I'm writing this the night before it goes live. I usually have my reviews written at least a few days before they're scheduled, but with this one it took a long time to even access the book (because apparently, Capstone doesn't let you read their Netgalley ebooks on Kindle). I just finished reading Baker's Magic yesterday, and I figured I'd go ahead and review it now anyway because a) it just came out the first of the month (so it's still new enough that it would be better for me to post my review sooner) and b) I'm having wrist surgery this coming Tuesday, and I don't really want to have a late review hanging over my head while I'm doing all of my typing one-handed.

Anyway, that's probably far more than you really wanted to know about the inner workings of my scheduling woes. You're really here to read about the book, aren't you? And I'm happy to say that this is definitely a good one! Rather dark cover - which actually made me hesitate to request it in the first place - aside, this is a fun, though not necessarily fluffy, book that plays with a large number of tropes so subtly that you barely notice what's going on at all.

Take Wil, for example. He's a nice boy, the blacksmith's son who's trapped into following his father's footsteps, and he and Bee have a fun, bantering relationship right from the beginning of the story. But do they fall in love? It's not much of a spoiler to say that they don't - and that the story lacks nothing for having no love interest for the main character. What's more, all of the usual tropes - the pirates, the quests, the mages, the princess, etc. - all play out differently than you would expect. I don't want to say much more about how things turn out, or I'll spoil the entire book, but suffice to say that it is a pretty fresh take on things.

Also, I really love the story line with the trees. That's an entirely new angle, and it is really cool - especially because Bee is a baker, and so she really appreciates the entire worlds of opportunity that open up with fruits like lemons and apples to cook with. I can't imagine living in a world without wood, but that is the environment Bee and her friends grew up in and so it's really cool seeing them encounter trees for the first time as the story goes on.

This wasn't the absolute best book I've ever read (I will say that the pacing was a tad strange), but it was a very enjoyable one that I am glad to have gotten the chance to read. If you give it a go, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ecopy of this book through Netgalley.

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