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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Tangled in Magic by Kim Ellis is the first book in the Karakesh Chronicles. Agatha's twin brother Malcolm has disappeared, and she has strong reason to believe he's still alive. She's determined to find him, no matter the danger, and to stay one step ahead of the sinister warlock who murdered their parents. With a gyrfalcon at her side to lead her, she sets out to find Malcolm, but the journey won't be easy as she encounters various travelers, who do not all have the best intentions, and confronts a dangerous panther. As she uncovers the truth about what happened to Malcolm, she also faces other dangers including Grassmen and dwarfs. All the obstacles she encounters are woven together to make her stronger. She shows strength and courage in everything she does, even helping strangers and putting herself at risk to do so. She also meets children she ends up helping, specifically a little girl named Rami who is in chains, and later a little boy. Their presence adds to a larger plot that finds Agatha as she's going through her own journey in the background of her own situation, but also ties into her journey. She's trying to free herself and so she goes to great lengths to help these children be free.
Ellis strikes a mirror between the present and the past with the warlock keeping a large presence throughout. Though he's not seen physically, his presence is a constant threat seen through the stalking of a panther. Malcolm's journal is key to unraveling the mystery of his disappearance as it chronicles his journey and gives insight into him as a character. The two animal characters of Archer and Carl are the primary companions who have a bickering dynamic in how they treat each other, which adds humor. Romance isn't a major part of the story with only a sweet connection between Agatha and Garret, who is charming, but the real relationship focus is the one between her and her brother. It's about their bond and how this plays into her determination to save him. Tangled in Magic is a fairy tale adventure with a daring heroine on a quest to save her twin brother, who faces a variety of dangers, meet travelers, and finds her own bravery.