Tangled Magick

Hapenny Magick is a favorite of mine and my daughter’s, so we were excited to get a review copy of the sequel Tangled Magick! Reading the sequel made me wish I’d taken the time to reread the first one, but most things came back to me pretty quickly.

Two years have passed since the events of Hapenny Magick. A fever is affecting the hapennies, and Mae travels with Collum the wizard and some other hapennies to find an herb that will help. Along the way they’re captured by trolls and Mae has to find a way to rescue her party—and some others, because Mae is that kind of hapenny!

Like Hapenny Magick, Tangled Magick is illustrated by Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall. Her illustrations are adorable and suit the tone of the novel perfectly, although in Tangled Magick they seem less integral to the story than they did in Hapenny Magick.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


It turns out that the hapennies and humans fought a war against the trolls sometime before Mae’s lifetime. Although the trolls were technically defeated, Aletta notes that no one ever wins a war. There are always great costs, and this was no exception.

Rewriting History

The hapenny elders decided to hide all knowledge of the war, forbidding discussion of it and burning any record of it. They isolated the hapennies from humans, trolls, and their own magick, trying to ensure such a deadly conflict would never happen again. If you read Hapenny Magick, you know how well that worked out. Even with Mae as Protector of the Wedge, there are still threats that the hapennies need to be aware of.


The trolls are pretty open about wanting to eat the captured hapennies, so the hapennies are essentially slaves in the castle with a threat of gory death held over their heads. None of the hapennies or humans are seriously injured, though, and no one gets eaten.

Mae turns a bunch of trolls to stone, and some of them crumble—they’re pretty clearly no longer alive.


Leif rebels against his parents who he feels are too controlling—he defies them and leaves to find Mae even though they’ve forbidden it. He’s frustrated with them, feeling that they’re overprotective and delusional (his mother insists their house can’t be infested by piskies because that would reflect poorly on her housekeeping skills). He must listen to them because he’s 16, and he can’t legally decide for himself until he’s 17; he wonders what amazing thing will suddenly make him a grownup between one day and the next. Aletta publicly says he should listen to his parents, but then helps him leave anyway—she says experience is what makes you grow up.

Leif’s parents also deny his emerging magick, but in the end after he’s defied them in many ways yet also saved the day, they tell him they’re proud of him and he doesn’t get in any trouble for running away and exploring magick.

Mae finds and quickly bonds with her long lost father. Other long separated families are reunited as well.


Love is in the air! There’s lots of blushing, and in the end there are lots of engagements and reunited couples. Some are pretty young (14 and 16) but they only promise to get engaged.

After Poppy has a bath and is wrapped in a sheet, some of the guys walk in—there’s much blushing and embarrassed turning around.

Seeing Beyond the Surface

There are a lot of people ready to leap to the obvious conclusion. Mae picks up on little clues that let her see the true picture. Seemingly dangerous or nasty creatures aren’t always what they appear. Most people underestimate Mae, seeing her as small and young, which is part of how she manages to outsmart them. She doesn’t underestimate her friends, and they rise to the occasion.

Working Together

Mae tries to bring Collum out of an enchanted sleep, but she can’t do it alone. Eventually it takes Mae, Aletta, and Leif embracing his magick to really break the spell.

Mae promised to help rescue some of the enchanted creatures in the castle if they helped her break the spell. Even at great risk to herself, she keeps her promises. Part of Mae’s power comes from her loyalty to others and her inclination to help others even when it might be difficult for her.


You’ll definitely want to start with Hapenny Magick as an introduction to the characters and the world, but fans of that novel will certainly enjoy this one. Like the first novel, it’s also suitable for younger precocious readers.

Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

Tangled Magick by Jennifer Carson
Published in 2015 by Spencer Hill Press Middle Grade
Sequel to Hapenny Magick
Read a review copy supplied by the author

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