Friday, November 1, 2013

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

I normally keep a book at work to read in the breakroom over lunch. Frequently this is a book that is okay but not that great, so I'm not tempted to take it home and read it more quickly. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic was a breakroom book, but my reason for keeping it one was different. I enjoyed savoring it over a long period of time. Once I got into it I really enjoyed it.

It's not a perfect book. The first 80 pages or so are very slow moving, and I wondered how I'd ever make it through 560 pages. The author really sets us up to dislike the heroine Nora. She is enchanted by the Faitoren (the author's version of the Fae) and spends her time in a fog being pushed around by them. It got old, and I thought, well that would never happen to ME! I would never be captured and enchanted by fairies and married to a monster! It made it hard for me to relate to Nora.

However, once Nora escapes the book got very good. The characters kept me guessing. Nora's relationship with the other main character is complex. There is a disturbing fact from the wizard Arundiel's past that is true - it's not a falsehood or exaggeration that people tell Nora to caution her against the wizard. I really was not sure where the plot was going.

I've seen The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic compared to Discovery of Witches, but I enjoyed it so much more. Nora doesn't need a magical powerful man to fall in love with and hand her life over to. She is a strong independent woman who manages to forge relationships while hanging on to that independence and her own spirit.

I recommend this to any fans of adult fantasy - just keep going until Nora escapes. I found it totally worth it.


The end was a bit anti-climactic, but that's because we were set up for a sequel. I am very much looking forward to one!

Note: It took me a long time to get through it, but I read an advance reader copy.

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