To Catch a Magic Thief (The Magic Collectors) by E.J. Kitchens

An unlikely hero and a cursed heroine deal with more than pride and prejudice as they race to stop a cunning thief.
Falsely accused of being the notorious Magic Thief, the non-magic Marcel Ellsworth, Baron of Carrington, wants nothing more than to stay away from enchanters and sorcerers. Unfortunately, he soon discovers his mentor, the Duke of Henly, is head of a family of proud enchanters—and that they’re the next target of the Magic Thief, a servant of the sorcerers. With the threat of another accusation hanging over him, Marcel sets out to prove his innocence, especially to the duke’s beautiful daughter Gabriella, and to stop the Thief once and for all.

But Gabriella is hiding a deadly secret that complicates Marcel’s mission and raises its stakes. For one thing is certain: the Magic Thief has come for more than magical treasures—he’s come for Gabriella.

THE MAGIC COLLECTORS series features stand-alone novels that can be read in any order. They are clean fantasy novels with adventure, humor, and romance in E.J. Kitchens’s classic “Jane Austen romance meets fairytale adventure” style.

A little about E.J. first:


E.J. Kitchens loves tales of romance, adventure, and happily-ever-afters and strives to write such tales herself. When she’s not thinking about dashing heroes or how awesome bacteria are–she is a microbiologist after all–she’s probably photographing flowers, walking in the woods, or talking about classic books and black-and-white movies. Elizabeth is a member of Realm Makers and blogs at Lands Uncharted. She lives in Alabama.

If you’d like up-to-date news on her writing, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter.

Elkin Hardcoves’ Review: 4.8-Stars

I’ll be honest, from the blurb I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book, part of me thought I wouldn’t like it. I was rather pleasantly surprised. It had an old-time Jane Austin/Downton Abbey feel with magic and mystery at every turn. E J Kitchens weaves a beautiful story with characters that felt real. Never forced, and never out of character. They rang true. I found myself feeling sorry for the misunderstood, bumbling Barron of Carrington and hoping for the change in the self-righteous Gabriella. I rooted for them to grow and fight the pressures and prejudices surrounding them.

The author’s word choice is brilliant, enabling me to envision the story with clarity, never lost–wondering what I’d missed.

To Catch a Magic Thief’s pace is more fitting for those who enjoy sitting on a porch sipping tea as opposed to those who’d prefer a more adrenaline-pumping pastime. But it is highly entertaining and will suck you in if you let it. For those who enjoy Jane Austin and Downton Abbey, but would like a bit of Harry Potter thrown in, this book is for you.

Diane Andersen’s Review: 4-Stars

There is a great deal to like about this book. As other reviews have noted, it has the feel of a YA fantasy like Harry Potter if it took place in Regency England or a Jane Austen novel or a Disney fairy tale. Gabriella Floraison is a wealthy nobleman’s daughter who has strange dreams that hearken to something terrible in her past. It turns out a Magic Thief is pursuing her for the use of her magic wand.

Enter, a dashing, though somewhat bumbling young man, Marcel Ellsworth, who aids her cause and helps her to untangle the mess of a lost wand, weird spells, and a web of conspiracy and prejudice surrounding the “half-magics” and sorcerers who have a long and fractured history with their world. I should have loved this book. I am a huge fan of those series reminiscent in this book.

However, this one seems to try a bit too hard to be something it is not. Both J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen are masterful storytellers. Every word packs a punch and holds the reader’s interest, even when it is seemingly slow and ordinary. There is always some hint of tension and movement toward the final goal. That was not the case in this book. The language vacillated from lyrical eloquence to common teen-speak. There were moments of great tension and interesting bits of world-building only to be bored to tears with everyday talk that seemed to have nothing to do with the plot whatsoever.

I soon found it was easier to skim than slog through the mire of conversations I didn’t need to be present in order to figure out the plot. And if I missed something crucial, not to worry, because important points were rehashed at just the right point to keep me abreast of the situation. Apparently, there are readers for this kind of story, perhaps for the young adult crowd or those who don’t mind reading the everyday drivel that accomplished writers know to edit out of their manuscripts.

Overall, it isn’t a bad book and one that I am glad I took the chance to read. Kitchens could have told a better story in about half the pages, or at the very least spent more of those words on a bit more world-building. The only place that happened was in the epigraph quotes heading each chapter. These were very well done and made to look like literature from the world in which the protagonists lived. It shows that the author does know how to write well and has a solid imaginative view of her story world.

It is just a shame she didn’t put as much effort into the editing of the manuscript to hone it into shape as well. Four stars for the attempt and for the exquisite cover art and title. I just wish it could have been something I would recommend and read again. Perhaps it could be for other readers so don’t let that stop anyone from giving it a try.

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