The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
I was so sure that I would love this book. And I can't say that I exactly disliked it, I actually enjoyed quite a few elements of the story. Yet I kept feeling like something was missing, I kept getting disconnected from the story and from Nora's character as I was reading. I also noticed that a lot of the readers that loved this book are not great fans of Discovery of Witches (and vice versa), whereas I absolutely loved Discovery of Witches and its characters.
Things I liked about this book:
- Magician Aruendiel was probably my favorite part of this book. I loved the veil of mystery surrounding his character and his past.
- I loved the numerous references to Pride and Prejudice
- I even enjoyed the beginning of the story, descriptions of Nora's lief up until the point she wanders into this alternate world
- Different "species" populating this magical world were fascinating and described well
Things I was not so crazy about:
- Despite containing a lot of magic and "magical creatures" this alternate universe did not feel magical to me. It felt like a travel back in history and somehow did not really grip me
- The pace of the story was very inconsistent. Things felt unnecessarily drawn out at times and I think those were the moments I would start feeling disconnected from the story
- I understand that it is extremely hard to come up with unexpected twists and turns in the story but I was a bit disappointed that I could see things coming miles away. It reduced the anticipation and excitement for me
If I end up reading the next book in the series, it will be primarily because of Aruendiel. Part of me hopes that there is more to the story of his past. I refuse to accept that the explanation revealed by the end of the book is all there is to it.
This is a well written book that simply failed to seduce ME fully. I am sure there are numerous readers out there who will simply love the world Emily Croy Barker created in this book. If this sounds like your cup of tea, I hope you do pick up this book, read it, and make a decision for yourself.