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Summary

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....

©2020 T. Kingfisher (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging characters, bit slow to get going

This isn’t a deep book - it’s heroine is 14, and it’s told entirely from her perspective, but she’s an engaging young thing who ends up having to deal with far, far more than you should at that, or any, age. It takes a while to get going and some of the events that transpire are a tad obvious, and some I thought obvious didn’t happen, so what do I know?! The latter part did pick up pace and it then rattled along to a rather good conclusion.

However, I was surprised to hear it read in UK English, by an American narrator. The narration, and Mona, are read in a rather cut-glass RP (received pronunciation) that, to be fair, the narrator holds well, but to my UK-English ears it sounded a bit carefully over-annunciated. Others characters came from all over, a bit of Irish, a bit of Australian, a bit of generic-rustic-yokel (think Sam Gamgee in the LotR films), and sometimes it was all a bit of a blend. I didn’t get why Mona, raised from a young age by her aunt and uncle, spoke so differently to them, and far more like the ruling classes. Mona is a baker, an ordinary girl, and no one else from her family, or the others we meet that she knows, speak that way. I thought I’ d get used to it, but I didn’t, and it nagged at me all the way through.

I’m not a young adult, or even an older child, so I’m not the target audience here, and I’m not criticising the story - it’s good, the characters are utterly engaging, the lesson that grown ups can’t always fix things is well learnt, there’s a battle at the end that is rather bloodless (lots of whacking and hitting), and,

SPOILER

just in case these things bother you,

someone you get to know as the book progresses dies. And it’s sadly done.

But the accents annoyed me. I mean, American author, American narrator - why go England-English?

1 person found this helpful

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Dough-lems

a little simple as story's go, but given its from the point of view of a 14 year old that's to be expected. Good writing and performance in general just can't believe they were constantly referred to as "Bread Golems" and not "dough-lems" that's my main complaint tbh

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Narration was interesting....

Nice story, which kept me engaged. I did spend the first third trying to work out what accent the narrator had. It was very distracting. Her voice was vaguely annoying, but I stuck with it because I liked the story.

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Really sweet and amusing

An unexpectedly lovely story with a believable main character. I'm a big fan of magic and baking, and this combines both delightfully.

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wizards guide

really enjoyed this story . kept me interested right the way till the end .its so nice to have a good story with out all the blood and gore. look fprward to finding more of this authors books .

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  • Joella Berkner
  • 21-10-21

A tour de force unimaginably good

T Kingfisher has an amazing knack for completely relatable characters and Patricia Santomasso did an impeccable job of bringing them to life. There are so many wonderful details in this book like the gingerbread men and Bob the sourdough starter. It’s yet another world I would be delighted to visit again. This is a story of how heroes are made even if they don’t want to be. You won’t regret listening to this.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Josh Angel
  • 26-10-21

Charming, Funny, and Perfectly Performed

An utterly charming and feel good story that does suffer from some pacing issues, but was well worth the read. Excellent narrator that perfectly captures the playful tone of the book. A great pick me up or pallet cleanser between heavier books.

11 people found this helpful

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  • CM
  • 29-12-21

Baking Bread Was Never So Much Fun!

Ah! This was so cute and creative. The author must have had a blast writing this because it shows.

It all starts when Mona discovers a dead body in their bakery. Mona is a wizard that works with bread. Yep, bread. That's it - just bread. And although this is considered minor magic, she still gets accused of the murder solely because she is a wizard. It doesn't take long before she learns there is a growing threat that magicas like her are facing in the city-state and while most magical individuals leave (or are killed), Mona soon finds herself in the unenviable position of having to stand-up and fight against the enemy.

And face the enemy she does - with bread! Who knew bread could have so many uses in battle? With a side-kick named Bob (yeast starter), a gingerbread man familiar, and a newfound belief and understanding of her talents she almost single-handedly helps win a war/battle. I don't think I've ever listened to so many chapters about battle and preparation for battle in a middle grade book as I did in this one. And it was all awesome.

The story is told through Mona's perspective, where she injects wit and humor into everything. But I also loved how she realized and discussed with herself that this should have been completely handled by the adults. It should never have come down to a kid like her having to be the one to make people aware of the dangers against the magicas or be forced to save the day. The adults should have been, well...the adults should have been the adults. They should have realized what was going on and put a stop to it.

The audio book was voice acted by Patricia Santomasso, who did not just a great job narrating, but also getting the humor down. Mona has many internal conversations and comments about things she is experiencing or witnessing. It's not always easy to do a 14-year old's comedic voice and she nailed it.

Highly recommend if you are looking for a light, fun read with a comedic touch. It's a middle grade story, but one that someone at any age could enjoy.

Rating 5 stars

9 people found this helpful

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  • Zero Calvin
  • 22-12-21

Equal Parts Charming and Serious

A great little story that ended up being a lot more serious than I had anticipated, but that only made it better. The story wrapped up nicely, but there seems to be room for a sequel, so I hope one exists or will be released soon. I'm off to look now...

6 people found this helpful

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  • wickerparkgirl
  • 18-03-22

Breathy voiced narrator

The story isn’t amazing but fairly cute and not the worst way to pass the time. I found the voice of the narrator rather annoying and had to try to ignore that quality.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Skaar
  • 02-11-21

Unique and Enjoyable!

Adults young and old will enjoy this book. It was unique - a different magical world I had not visited previously. Very enjoyable!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • melody sheldon
  • 12-07-22

Pure Charm

I miss Terry Pratchett a little less now. ( But only a little. ) So sweet

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Geo
  • 06-09-22

Wonderful!

A great story, characters and narration. Hope to see more of this charming, amazing universe:)

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Miffo
  • 01-06-22

Potential not realised

The narrator’s voices were not believable.
The story has plot holes you could drive a semi through.
Disappointing after all the hype.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Faedorah Jones
  • 22-09-22

New take on magic

This book was funny, dramatic, exciting. A nice new way of looking at magic & wizards.

1 person found this helpful