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City of Stolen Magic

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I also have a soft spot for Tipu, who proved he could stand up for himself and was an amazing and kind-hearted friend.

City of Stolen Magic (Paperback) - Waterstones City of Stolen Magic (Paperback) - Waterstones

This story was a lovely and impactful read, the plot itself being very fast paced with twists and turns along the way.. City of Stolen Magic is a middle-grade fantasy novel that weaves together magic, colonial history, and secrets.

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In general, the characters were well drawn, from Chompa (determined, feisty, undaunted) to Tipu and Laurie (Djinn speakers she meets on the way to England) to Leeza, Mohsin’s servant, to Millie, the English maid whose weakness is her sweet tooth. Although I guessed the plot twist, it is still a good one. This was a glorious adventure, not difficult for a reader unfamiliar with this history to grasp. And so vividly realised with a strong voice, especially Chompa’s. This story has a super premise, a fantastic magic system, great characters, nice plot twists, and a wonderful setting. I loved that the story is set in India during British rule, and to be honest, I wished the entire story was set there (although I also enjoyed reading about the many migrant communities in London).

City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak - Google Play City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak - Google Play

Children’s fantasy may be one of publishing’s fastest-growing genres, but stories from South Asia have remained in short supply. Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, a British-Bangladeshi writer chosen for Penguin’s mentoring scheme for under-represented writers, wants to redress that balance. As she has explained, she started writing her debut novel, City of Stolen Magic, 10 years ago after the birth of her son, because “there were no stories out there that represented his Indian and Bangladeshi heritage, the relationship between colonialism and migration, or South Asian traditions of magic.”Even though we’re supposed to root against the antagonist from the start simply because he’s British, it takes quite a long time before he actually starts to feel like a proper antagonist. When the story shifts to Tipu’s point of view, the transition feels a bit awkward. And it also feels like the story incorporated one or two ideas too many. Less is more in this case. With more focus on fewer ideas, those core ideas would have stood out more. More terrifying still, people born with magic are being snatched from their homes. Rumour is that they are being taken across the sea - to England - by the all-powerful, sinister Company. City of Stolen Magic manages to be both an exciting romp through colonial India and Victorian Britain and a sobering expose of Empire, shot through with a delightfully original concept and some fast paced, twisting plotting and story telling. Chompa lives with her beloved mother in a small village in India, bored by her mother's insistence on slow, subtle charms rather than allwoing Chompa to explore her much more exciting and powerful finger magic, but when Chompa takes matters into her own hands, the results are catastrophic resulting in her mother's capture by terrifyingly pale men - Chompa's first encounter with the British.

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