The Frontier Magic Trilogy by Patricia C. Wrede
Thirteenth Child, reread: 9th Jan
Across the Great Barrier, new: 10th Jan.
The Far West, new: 11th Jan.
I describe this series to anyone who sees me with it and asks what's it about as "Alternate history United States, Wild Wild West with magic."
It straddles the line between what is middle grade and what is YA, but towards the end of the third book, it feels more adult in tone.
My one major problem with this series was that there wasn't NEARLY enough kissing. It was completely appropriate for 10 year-olds, all the way through. Of course, this fits in with the time period, but still, I wanted kissing.
What I also wanted was a map. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about everything that was this different version of history. I managed to find one on the author's website, and I was actually really surprised at how far North Mill City was supposed to be. (I did catch that the Mammoth River was the Mississippi, though, so SCORE!)
I hope that there are more stories set in this world, because it was so great and so relevant.
My favorite moment was when a little girl from an ex-slave settlement who practices Aphrikan (African) magic tells the main character that she can't do Aphrikan magic because she's Avrupan (European/white), and the main character responds with, "No, I'm Columbian, same as you." (They live in the United States of Columbia.)
Maybe that requires too much explanation to be relevant to the average reader of my blog? Oh, well, I thought it was great.
This book is highly recommended to people of all ages, since it's appropriate for all of them.