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A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

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Or real life and any number of groups who can be used to focus attention away from whatever an administration doesn’t want people to look at.

The story is about a murder mystery, there are dark echoes of totalitarianism and ethnic cleansing (all wizards either have to leave town or are murdered), and finally there's an army threatening the city while its usual defenders are away. 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. The setting is a medieval city state where most of the subjects are just about coping, though there is widespread poverty.

Overall, the book never lacks for charm and silliness (which sometimes make the stakes difficult to manage?

Think of all the scenes in Shrek that involve gingerbread people and you have a glimpse into this absurdly entertaining, totally charming novel. I can't begin to describe how much I loved this absolutely delightful book featuring silly shenanigans, leavened with some serious undertones. Good thing she has found a ally in street kid with a lot of street smarts and a gingerbread man she might have magicked just a little more than she was supposed to, to help her out. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking is even better than that, it’s a YA that can be read and very much enjoyed by adults.

But I found myself puzzled, supremely, by dual ideas (spoilery) of a large enough city that children can escape multiple guards on a canal and through smugglers' pathways, but that same young baker can make seven golems and twenty gingerbread men can hold off an advancing army in a way that a populace can't.

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