Review: Sorcery for Beginners, by Matt Harry

October 19, 2017 Review 0

Review: Sorcery for Beginners, by Matt HarrySorcery for Beginners by Matt Harry
Published by Inkshares on October 10th, 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Source: Publisher
4 Stars

Five-hundred years ago, magic began to fade from the world. Combustion engines and computers took the place of enchanted plows and spell books. Sorcerers were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten ... until now.
Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), Sorcery for Beginners is the true how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It's also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long secret war when he uses this book to take on a school bully. But when Owen's spell casting draws the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, he must decide how much he's willing to risk to keep magic alive in the world.

It’s rare to find a book aimed at children, with a distinct voice to the narrator, that is also enjoyable as an adult. SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS is a surprisingly mature story that deals with bullying, social injustice, betrayal and yes, sorcery.

The book is set up both as the story of Owen discovering magic, and a guide for budding magicians. With full pages of spell instructions and lots of funny and interesting asides, SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS builds  a world that is larger than just Owen’s story. It’s a world where magic speaks many languages and can have both delightful and horrifying consequences.

It’s refreshing to find a book about thirteen year olds that deals with real world issues: when the kids defend themselves against a bully and accidentally seal his eyes shut, the bully’s father comes after them. He’s got mafia ties and ends up tazing and threatening the kids with guns. Magic isn’t used as an answer to all problems; it doesn’t fix relationships, it doesn’t always make your life better, and it’s definitely a big responsibility. Owen grows as a character but not too quickly, and always in ways that are easy for younger readers to understand.

The end of SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS sets up what could be another book, but it feels just as satisfying on its own. With a varied cast of characters, extra bits of enchanting information and a dramatic final battle, this is a book that will appeal to readers young and old.

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