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A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking
a Book Review of the novel by T. Kingfisher
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher is one of the few teen books I’ve read in the last year, and it honestly has more plot and ingenuity than many adult fantasy novels. The novel follows 14-year-old Mona who is a wizard who can control bread. Just like many people during the pandemic, I started making sourdough bread, so I was immediately drawn to book’s synopsis.
The story opens as Mona walks into the bakery to start her morning shift only to find a dead body on the floor. After reporting the murder, Mona is unjustly arrested as a suspect and it is revealed that there is an evil villain is hunting and killing wizards.
The book has no romance, only plot, intrigue, and war. Mona’s uses her abilities to manipulate bread and dough in creative and unexpected ways in order to defeat her enemies. The writing is hilarious and clever; Mona animates gingerbread, creates stepping stones on water to escape attackers, and so much more.
Mona is a great young magical role-model. Unlike many heroines, Mona isn’t naturally imbued with incredible power. There are many scenes where she is shown practicing her abilities and reading books to learn new skills. Mona also collaborates with others to create and execute plans. She is not a lone warrior, and that makes this book more entertaining because the other characters are very fun. The clever thief, protective aunt, and crazy horse necromancer are just a few.
Also, we can’t forget Bob. Bob is Mona’s disgruntled but loving sourdough starter. The fact that Bob sometimes eats stray rodents in Mona’s basement is almost more endearing than it is creepy. I love the cast of characters; I love the innovative story; I’m now scared of my sourdough starter.
The Don’t Call Me Ishmael Official Book Rating, Sponsored by World Wide Whale Wizards (WWWW):
4.5/5. Way better than Moby Dick.