A work of speculative fiction by Charlie Jane Anders.
Contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Both Patricia and Laurence's parents.
- Artificial Intelligence: Laurence builds a supercomputer & asks if Patricia wants to talk with it. It is a surprisingly good conversationalist.
- Baleful Polymorph: Theodolphus Rose is transformed into a netsuke (a miniature Japanese wooden sculpture) for a time before he is restored to his human form and imprisoned by the witches.
- Bully Magnet: Both Laurence and Patricia at the Canterbury Academy. It's what brings them together.
- Crapsack World: Book 2 quickly establishes that the earth is facing increased threats from climate change and war.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Nameless Order Of Assassins now has a rule against the killing of children.
- Literal Transformative Experience: Patricia's first use of demonstrably real magic is to transform into a bird to escape her tyrannical older sister. The confidence and sense of freedom she achieves as a result ultimately paves the way for her saving Lawrence from military school, learning how to use her powers consciously, and eventually levelling up into a Blue-Collar Warlock hero.
- Magic Versus Science
- Military School: Laurence gets sent to one by his parents after Mr Rose summons his parents to the school for a meeting and suggests that Laurence has been causing trouble with Patricia. Patricia helps him to break out.
- The Speechless: Laurence promises to tell no one about Patricia being a witch under threat of losing his voice. He keeps this promise until Isobel is about to shoot Patricia for destroying the TDS and killing Milton, at which point he makes a Heroic Sacrifice and tells Isobel what Patricia is to save her life. As soon as he finishes explaining, he feels his ability to speak disappear. Peregrine later confirms that there is no way to undo the spell that has rendered him mute.
- Transflormation: When Ernesto sets foot outside the spell-protected bookshop where he resides, not only does he begin to sprout various flora from his own body, but so does everything around him, with grass and trees sprouting out of the street and sidewalk.
- Wizarding School: Eltisley Maze.