Review: A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

“It is nearly impossibly to be sad when eating a blueberry muffin. I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact.”

I need to read more T. Kingfisher. Nettle & Bone was delightful and, if anything, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking is even better!

In a nutshell, we have a world with a specialized sorts of wizards. You might be able to cast lightning bolts… or you might have the power to animate and converse with dead horses. Or you might even have magical powers over… bread!

It’s such a delightful idea and Kingfisher manages to do all sorts of fun things with it. Some obvious (Mongo eat your gingerbread heart out), some less so (Bob the sourdough starter; so delightful).

It helps I think that the main character is a 14 year old girl (and has, at least to my ears, the voice to match). She has no interest in saving the kingdom. She just wants to make the best bread she can. But when someone’s running amuck, killing wizards and plotting treason?

“But I shouldn’t have had to do any of it. There should have been so many grown-ups who should have fixed things before it got down to me and Spindle. It doesn’t make you a hero just because everybody else didn’t do their job.”

I really love the whole cast. Teenage heroine, crusty sidekick, Bob, dead horse witch, pickpocket who’s a solid friend, solid aunt that is there for her niece, duchess that could do better, evil advisor… this book really does have everything.

The only real negative thing I can think about is that there’s a bit of a deus ex machina in that ending. I suppose it’s not really out of nowhere and it still manages to do a good job of punching me right in the feels, but still. I could have used something a bit more… bready?

Overall, wonderful book. Give it a read. And like I said. ALL THE KINGFISHER.