TITLE: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
AUTHOR: T. Kingfisher
"Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.
But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…"
This is supposed to be a children's fantasy novel that is apparently too dark for kids?! Corpses and assassins are no doubt old hat to kids these days. Personally I found Bob, the carnivorous semi-intelligent sour bread starter dough, hilarious and Nag, the horse skeleton, rather cute. And that one Ginger Bread Cookie has more personality than most authors give to their main characters. The protagonist is a 14 year old girl who is a wizard with bread (just bread!!), who manages to still be a (sensible) teenager (mostly) with all the shit that is going on in her life, without all the whining usually associated to these types of books. The "step-parents" actually manage to be likeable, decent people. This is a another great adventure/detective/save the city story with Ursula Vernon's original brand of humour and imagination.