Rose, an orphan who works as a housemaid while studying magic, helps save a princess from an evil magician.
Rose’s secret, which is that she has magical powers, is out. Now that she’s a magician’s apprentice as well as a housemaid, her status among the other servants is in jeopardy, as they view magic and magical people with suspicion even though they are employed by Mr. Aloysius Fountain, a powerful magician in the royal court. Fact is, it’s a bad time for magicians in the city of London. Princess Jane, the darling of king and country, briefly disappeared, and magicians are suspected in the so-called attempted kidnapping, causing anti-magician prejudice to skyrocket. Nonetheless, Rose is secretly called in to help the king along with fellow apprentice Freddie and Gus, Mr. Fountain’s smart-talking cat, a potent magician in his own right. The adventure that follows is amusing but fuzzy, as the nature of the characters’ magical powers is not clear, so the final battle has an arbitrary feel. Where Webb shines is in her depiction of the gradations of status and power both up- and downstairs and how these positions shape perception, action and character.
Enjoyable magical adventure enlivened by an engaging group of secondary characters from all backgrounds and realms. (Fantasy. 8-12)