The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar
Review

The Magicians of Madh (Meandering Magicians #1) by Aditi Krishnakumar – witty middle-grade fantasy

The Magicians of Madh is entertaining, amusing, witty middle-grade fantasy and mystery set in the magical city and royal academy

witty middle-grade fantasy

The Magicians of Madh (Meandering Magicians #1) by Aditi Krishnakumar

Publication Date : July 10, 2018

Publisher : Duckbill Books and Publications

Read Date : March 31, 2023

Genre : MG Fantasy / Mystery

Pages : 224

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links.

Synopsis

Something strange is afoot at the Royal Academy of Science, Magic and the Arts …

A standing statue sits down with a meditative smile …

A demi-god is caught smuggling the Nectar of the gods into the Mortal Realm …

Traders in Madh find their goods have been turned into djinn’s gold …

An illegal portal into the Inter-Realm has opened and no one knows who has done it …

A strange creature has been sighted in the vaults under the Academy …

Will Meenakshi and Kalban be able to get to the bottom of it before the creature in the vault gets too powerful to control?

Or is all this a cover for something much more sinisterโ€•something that will destroy the city of Madh?

Review

amusing, witty middle-grade fantasy

The Magicians of Madh is witty and fun MG fantasy about young magicians, Meenakshi and Kalban, solving the mystery of series of unusual things happening in Madh with  The Royal Academy of Science, Magic, and the Arts at the center of it.

This is Madh! Strange things are always happening. That’s the chief tourist attraction of the city. It’s in the tourist brochure!

Well, that defines Madh. But as much as it is common to happen all strange things they don’t usually make the danger censors to go off in heaven and bring down the Celestial Dancer to investigate. It was fun to meet all the characters and solve the mystery with them.

Writing is delightful, entertaining, and rambling with lots of witticisms. The story is told in third person narrative mainly from Kalban and Meenakshi’s perspective. Some readers might not like the writing style but for me, it worked. It kind of sets the tone of the book making it amusing and fun.

As this is first book in the Meandering Magicians series, there’s lots of descriptions and introductions and many information to keep in mind that makes this short book go slow. I wish there was a map or list of the characters to make it easy to remember or refer to later.

Characters are quirky. There isn’t much development but they are still fun to read.

Meenakshi – 14 yr old Master sorcerer’s daughter. She is smart, brilliant, quirky, and the best sorcereress in training to take place of Master Sorcerer in the future. She is a lot like her father who loves to do impossible and challenging magic that makes her on the radar of Celestial Dancer all the time. But she isn’t good at social skills, diplomacy, and negotiation. I like her and her love for magical creatures is infectious.

Kalban – 15 yr old Apprentice of Master Sorcerer, foster brother of Meenakshi. He takes care of all magic-related governor duty of the master sorcerer that doesn’t requires master sorcerer’s time like less dangerous things that don’t harm people or the city and keeping an eye on Meenakshi not summoning any dangerous sprite or creating magical creature through alchemy that can be threat to people and city. He is smart and good at magic but his skill lies in diplomacy, negotiation, and discretion. But he has nervous and cautious nature because of his childhood and upbringing in Melucha.

I loved how these two worked together to solve the mystery and save the city. There are many other characters introduced and were also somewhat important but I will who need mentioning-

Paras – The Master Sorcerer and governor of Madh who mostly takes care of magical things in the city but is likely delegated to his apprentice and the whole magical department comes under him, unless it needs his attention. His anger management issue made it amusing to read why Kalban or anyone except Asamanjas wouldn’t dare to approach him for any problem.

Asamanjas – Paras’s brother without any magic. He takes care of non-magical things and the people of the city.

Chitralekha – Celestial Dancer that visits the Academy and then helps Kalban and Meenakshi in solving the mystery. She is sunshine and lovely and made the story even more light and cheerful.

The Counsellor- He doesn’t have magic but he has eyes and ears throughout Madh. The funny thing is no one remembers his name so he goes by The Counsellor.

The High Priest of Sun God – He has love for no taxes and is always trying to argue and put forward a point to the governor and counsellor that the temple shouldn’t pay so much taxes.

What I loved most apart from amusing characters and their description is the city, legend, the magic, and how hierarchy works. There is whole table of governance hierarchy at the end of the book that made it easy to see what kind of department works under what. It felt like a complicated government structure we see in the real world the only difference is it’s in the magical world.

Did I mention the world is inspired by Indian mythology? But here it’s intertwined with mortal world and there is a proper system. I absolutely loved reading about Madh and the Royal Academy, rules for students about magic, rules of alchemy, how magic works and how celestial dancers keep watch on who is using how much magic and who is on the verge of turning evil so they can stop the person before it’s too late.

I also loved the theory being philosophy, physics and science of the world, the power of thoughts, how humans evolved and Gods were made. In just 200+ pages this book packs a lot about the world along with characters and mystery and it all seems to merge pretty well by the end of the book.

There is a layer of student life and how people react when they are put in a place or situation where they don’t want to be, how frustration and unhappiness lead to bitter hateful action, and the power of the human mind.

Mystery isn’t surprising. I could guess the villain quite early in the book as the hints were obvious and I also knew the name at the middle of the story but how that person made everything possible and what the real intention was revealed more clearly in climax. Climax is action-packed with the biggest threat brought to the city and it was great how Kalban and Meenakshi could control it and make things right. The revelation of why the villain went rogue in the end was not that impressive but I have to agree with Meenakshi, the plan of the villain was definitely smart.

One more thing, from the age of the character this is a middle-grade book but the writing and structure of the world is more for young adult or adults who loves to read middle-grade books.

Why 4 stars-

As I said, there is lot of information that made the pace slow. Also without any index or map it might get confusing for some readers. The motive of the villain didn’t tune out very impressive.

Overall, The Magicians of Madh is entertaining, amusing, witty middle-grade fantasy and mystery set in the magical city and royal academy.

I recommend this if you like,
Middle-grade books
Cozy fantasy mystery
Magical academy setting
Quirky characters
Witty tone
Inspired by Hindu Mythology

Book Links

Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think Iโ€™m going to stop reading books in this life. โ€œYou can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.โ€

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