Book Review: A Handful of Magic

A Handful of Magic by Stephen Elboz
A Handful of Magic
by Stephen Elboz

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Kit is full of mischief and unruly vandalism, until his misconduct results in his best friend, Prince Henry being bitten by a werewolf. As Kit works to save Henry from the werewolf’s poison, he uncovers a deadly plot to cripple all of England while children are used as slaves to work in underground mines. To save his friends, Kit must learn to use his magical abilities for good, instead of for foolish pranks.

Full of steampunk magic and mythical creatures, this book creates a world where magic is at war with new scientific discoveries like the electric light and telegraph. Kit’s father, a prominent wizard-adviser to Queen Victoria, worries that magic is becoming obsolete in the face of new scientific inventions, and Kit is determined to prove that magic is just as relevant and necessary as it ever was.

I didn’t quite like Kit and his friends at first, because of their foolishness and vandalism, but they began to grow and learn, and their good hearts and generous spirits began to show through, so in the end, I liked them all and was cheering for them through their adventures.
I wish that there had been some explanation for why Kit and Henry, two boys from wealthy and influential families, were hanging out with ragamuffins from poor families on the London streets. I would have loved a backstory about how that gang became friends, but the reader is plopped down in the middle of the story with no explanation for these unlikely friendships.

I loved the world-building and the wonderful magic. I loved the strained relationships between Kit and his father and aunt, and how they patch things up later on. I loved the character development that Kit goes through. I enjoyed the plot and the little details of the story that gave it a special something.

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