Saturday, December 29, 2012

ORDINARY MAGIC by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

Ordinary Magic is about a girl named Abby who lives in a world where everything is done with magic. Out of her entire large family, Abby is the only "ord" (ordinary), revealed when she is tested for magical gifts. She is immediately shunned by just about everyone she knows aside from her family (who are hilarious and adorable and lovely). She is then shipped off to a special school in the city dedicated to protecting ords and teaching them how to survive and protect themselves against magic users who, for the most part, hate them. Abby has had a pretty great childhood compared to many of her classmates, but the teachers and students bond and learn a lot and have to face off against bloody-thirsty Red Caps, ord-slavers, and discrimination of all kinds.

The world is fascinating. Everything is done by magic, so an ord is feared because a lack of magic is a horrifying possibility to most of the populace. The politics, with the various people standing for or against ords, was included enough in the story to make sense and stay interesting, without detracting from the more personal story of the characters (think of Harry Potter's wizarding world, if all the wizards decided to hunt down their non-magical relatives and enslave them).

The characters were, in fact, FABULOUS. I loved the protagonist, who is optimistic, idealistic, and loves her family. The novel is written in her voice, and it is solid throughout and very entertaining (a large part of why I started reading and couldn't stop). I also love her family, who don't care that she's an ord and commit themselves to helping her and kids like her. All of the teachers and students at the school have their own stories and fleshed out personalities. One of her classmates, Peter, is a perfect foil for Abby (and not just because he's a Pessimist and she's an Optimist).

Ordinary Magic is one of those perfect books where every page is not only necessary to the story that the author is telling, but entertaining and gripping as well. This is a Middle Grade book, but the story is still complex and deals with some pretty intense issues. It would be easy to read it strictly as an allegory of race/religion/sex discrimination, but there’s a really great story here, too.

I gave Ordinary Magic five out of five stars. WARNING: contains complete win. I need more of this series immediately.

1 comment:

Jasmine Stairs said...

Oh man I love this book SO MUCH. And I talked to the author on twitter, and she said that things are looking good to be picked up for a second book?