Something Close to Magic

Something Close to Magic
Age Range
Release Date
June 13, 2023
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A baker’s apprentice reluctantly embarks on an adventure full of magic, new friendships, and a prince in distress in this deliciously romantic young adult fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Margaret Rogerson and Gail Carson Levine.

It’s not all sugar and spice at Basil’s Bakery, where seventeen-year-old Aurelie is an overworked, underappreciated apprentice. Still, the job offers stability, which no-nonsense Aurelie values highly, so she keeps her head down and doesn’t dare to dream big—until a stranger walks in and hands her a set of Seeking stones. In a country where Seeking was old-fashioned even before magic went out of style, it’s a rare skill, but Aurelie has it.

The stranger, who turns out to be a remarkably bothersome bounty hunter named Iliana, asks for Aurelie’s help rescuing someone from the dangerous Underwood—which sounds suspiciously like an adventure. When the someone turns out to be Prince Hapless, the charming-but-aptly-named prince, Aurelie’s careful life is upended. Suddenly, she finds herself on a quest filled with magic portals, a troll older than many trees (and a few rocks), and dangerous palace intrigue.

Even more dangerous are the feelings she’s starting to have for Hapless. The more time Aurelie spends with him, the less she can stand the thought of going back to her solitary but dependable life at the bakery. Must she choose between losing her apprenticeship—or her heart?

Editor review

1 review
Like an unexpected dessert.
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I liked:
Something Close to Magic is Emma Mill's debut fantasy novel. She has written previous young adult novels in the contemporary vein of a plot line. Emma Mills is dabbling in fantasy with a baker who has a talent for seeking, a bounty hunter, and a prince by the name of hapless who takes off on a quest into the dangerous forest known as the Underwood. The story works so well that you have banter, cutesy romance, cozy vibes, light magic, court intrigue, and sweetly charming characters.
Final Verdict:
Something close to magic takes four unlikely heroes and gives them the task of figuring out who attacked the prince in the Underwood. Along the way, each character grows into a more robust version of themselves, and it was refreshing to see that though there is a romance brewing, it is not overpowering in the story. I want to read more fantasy from Emma Mills.
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