Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

New Jersey native Nora, stinging from a recent breakup, stumbles through a portal into the clutches of the Faitoren, a race of capricious illusionists with sinister plans for her.

A novel with a solid, classic fantasy feel. Even the cover looks vintage, like a sword-and-sorcery paperback from the 80s and the story carries some of that influence as well, complete with its own flavor of magical mechanics and quite a few constant-heavy names. It’s got a relaxed pace and tension that builds at a really slow boil, making it a comfortable book I looked forward to reading before bed. What little romance there is serves as a nice accent rather than a the main attraction and it feels authentic in its evolution. I do wish Nora had been a little more active in her own fate, not because her passivity didn't make sense in the context of the story, just because I wanted her to control her own direction a bit better. At one point, she (almost) sets out on her own and that was an exciting turn of events but it didn't pan out. The other characters are provide interesting glimpses of a much larger world and a dense history. I hope there are more books in the future that expand on this as well as the next part of Nora’s journey; the story ends with a cliff hanger and there’s a lot that needs to be wrapped up. Some of it would have been better done in this book because there were some questions I thought shouldn’t have gone unanswered, but it does make me look forward to the next book.

There is a copy of this book available for giveaway. If you'd like it, leave a comment with a way to contact you and in a week or so I'll randomly pick a winner.