Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Alligators, druids, and time travel, oh my! Review of 'Some Very Messy Medieval Magic' by C. Lee McKenzie

Cover image of Some Very Messy Medieval Magic

Title: Some Very Messy Medieval Magic
Series: The Adventures of Pete and Weasel #3
Author: C. Lee McKenzie
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy / Time Travel 
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press LLC
Buy: Amazon

What Goodreads has to say:

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

What I have to say:

An alligator familiar? A woefully inept young wizard? An introverted best friend? A time-traveling author who may or may not have been turned into a horse for writing something nasty about the druids? 

There was nothing about C. Lee McKenzie's Some Very Messy Medieval Magic that I did not love, unless it was the fact that it eventually ended. 

I haven't read the first two books in the series (now I will) but I didn't feel lost at any point. The author does a great job summing everything up concisely and entertainingly, along the way dropping hints that make me want to go back and read those first two books.

Right from the start, this book was awesome. As soon as I read the first couple of paragraphs about a substitute teacher named "Dread Wraith" making life difficult for his middle school students, I knew I'd found a good thing. The tone is so entertaining and the two main characters are so lovable.

Pete and Weasel are two eighth graders who in many ways couldn't be more different: Weasel seems to know everything - Pete is pretty clueless and at any given time you can probably find him screwing things up. Weasel puts out a grumpy, leave me alone vibe - Pete can't understand why anyone wouldn't want a hug. For better or for worse, they're best friends. And I am so in love with their friendship dynamic. 

Also hallelujah, Weasel is an introvert! I want to see more introverted characters in fiction! Especially in YA and MG fiction. Especially in YA and MG fantasy and science fiction. So thank you, C. Lee McKenzie, for doing that.

This story also has a nice element of mystery, and that coupled with the fun voice and quick pace is what kept me reading. Plus, there are delicious touches of all the things that make up a great story: mysterious standing stones, a dark forest, ghosts on Halloween night, illusive castles, time travel disasters, and even a bit of old English politics. I mean really what is there not to love?

I'll stop rhapsodizing now and try to actually talk about the book.

Pete and Weasel have to go back to medieval England to fix a time inconsistency left over from Pete's great Time Lock disaster (one of the instances in which he screwed things up). Pete knows he has to save the young duke, but he doesn't know how, when, or what from. And to make things worse, it looks like there may be an assassin in their midst. 

Complicating matters still further is the fact that Weasel can't wear his glasses because glasses haven't been invented yet and he and Pete need to blend into medieval England, that Pete has no idea how to ride a horse or wield a sword, and that the druids keep interfering in everyone's affairs.

Also there's the fact that Pete's alligator familiar (?!) is 100% done with Pete after getting left in a smelly moat for several days, and the startling revelation that Pete's horse is definitely not what she seems. I can't - I just freaking love all of it. 

In short, if you're looking for a fun, engaging middle grade adventure that will make you laugh out loud but also keep you up at night reading, and if you like your novels sprinkled with an element of the supernatural and a bit of time travel, you really can't go wrong with Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. And don't let that title fool you - there is nothing messy about this book. It's pure perfection.


Ah, what the heck? I'll give it five trees. YOLO.

Until tomorrow.


  1. This review means so much to me. As an author, I'm always thinking, "What if they hate this?" You've made me feel much more confident today, and I thank, not only for your positive review, but for such a well-written one.

    1. Thank you and you're welcome! Thanks for writing a well-written book for me to review. (:

  2. I came back to check in and discovered my comment never appeared. Hmmm. I just wanted to thank you for not only the positive review, but also for the very well-written one. Hope it sticks this time!

  3. I love that substitute teacher's name - brilliant!

  4. What a great review! Sounds like a terrific book.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful adventure.

  6. I really enjoyed this book too. So much fun. I love Pete and Weasel. Your review is awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us.