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Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Sunday's List: The Magic or Madness Trilogy

This week I remained captive to the Magic or Madness Trilogy by Australian writer Justine Larbalestier. The three books that comprise the trilogy are Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons and Magic's Child. These YA books are geared toward teens ages 14 and up.

As I'm not really into the fantasy genre, I really wasn't sure what I'd think about Magic or Madness. Well, after reading Magic or Madness, I realized I needed to find out what happened next. It was that good. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to find a copy of Magic Lessons. Then on Friday, just as I finished Magic Lessons, I found out from my library that they had a copy of the recently released Magic's Child...just for me. I just love the library!

Justine Larbalestier crafted quite a wonderful, intriguing trilogy...full of twists and turns...love, friendship, family, loyalty, trust, mathematics, good, evil, betrayal, and of course, lots of magic. These books are set mainly set in Australia and New York City. There's even a glossary at the end of each book that gives a definition for Australian words. I must say, this was quite a neat way to read a trilogy...I didn't have to wait a year or two between books to find out what happens next. I could just hunker down and read all the books to my heart's content. This was a real treat.

I won't tell you what happens in the last book, Magic's Child, since the book just came out. But I will promise you won't be disappointed. It is simply engaging with a very cool ending. Which left me to wonder...hmmm...perhaps Justine Larbalestier could be convinced to write one more book?

And now, A Sunday's List:

1. Reason, Jay-Tee from Magic and Madness by Justine Larbelestier, ages 14 and up: 15 year old Reason Cansino is afraid of her grandmother. Reason's mother, Sarafina, has taught Reason how to run and hide from her grandmother; they have spent years moving about the bush and changing their names to hide from Sarafina's mother, Esmeralda.

One day, Sarafina goes a bit batty, and Reason soon finds herself on a plane to stay with her grandmother. Sarafina is placed in an institution. Reason won't interact with Esmeralda, and instead, checks out Esmeralda's house to find answers to Sarafina's teachings. Reason finds the door to New York City-it is the back kitchen door of Esmeralda's house. Nothing like travelling from Australia to New York City is a moment's time.

Reason is one tough cookie. She is a mathematical brainiac. Reason is logical, brave, proactive, and not afraid to speak up for herself and to push back on other people.

Jay-Tee is the girl Reason meets in New York City who is out to look after herself only. Jay-Tee manipulates Reason a bit and then feels guilty. Jay-Tee eventually becomes truthful with Reason. They soon become friends. Jay-Tee is fun, brave, fiesty and likes to live a bit on the wild side. Reason soon learns she is magic and questions all her mother has taught her.

Reason, Jay-Tee and Tom, the boy next door, are all magic. Jay-Tee and Tom are more experienced with the magic. Reason soon learns that either they use the magic and live a short life. Or they don't use the magic and go insane.

2. Reason, Jay-Tee, Esmeralda from Magic Lessons by Justine Larbelestier, ages 14 and up: Reason, Jay-Tee and Tom, the boy next door, hang out and learn magic from Esmeralda. All of them worry about the magic or madness choice. Jay-Tee has used much too much magic and realizes she doesn't have much time to live. Reason goes on quite the adventure where she shows her persistence, courage, loyalty and bravery. Jay-Tee believes in Reason. She fights for Reason and realizes how nice it is to have a friend her age. And while Esmeralda is still not totally trusted, she becomes quite a protector of her magic students.

3. Reason, Jay-Tee, Esmeralda from Magic's Child by Justine Larbeslestier, ages 14 and up: Oh, you'll just have to read this final book in the Magic or Madness Trilogy. It was just released, so I won't tell you a thing. Except you won't be able to put it down. And that is something, coming from a person who just tolerates fantasy tales.


PJ Hoover said...

So my question is: with small kids running amok, when do you find the time to read a trilogy on the weekend?
And the trilogy does sound fantastic! This is the way to read a trilogy - after all the books are out.

HipWriterMama said...

I actually got to read these books over the whole week. I started Monday and ended yesterday morning. The trilogy is really good.

This probably sounds strange, but I love books I can totally immerse myself into. It's this feeling that I've been transported into that world and it becomes believable to me.

Which is probably why I have a hard time with the fantasy genre. I think it's tough to write something this creative and make it believable. When someone can create a believable world in this genre, well to me, it's just plain genius.

But, it made me decide to try my hand at writing a little in this genre and practice away. To see if I could loosen up my practical side. What fun!

Jen Robinson said...

I've only read the first book - you've made me want to go and get the other two. Thanks for the recommendations!

HipWriterMama said...

You're welcome! The 3rd book is better than the second. So you're in for a sleepless night.