Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Touch of Old Magic

I just completed "Old Magic" by Marianne Curley which I picked up in Wal-Mart on one of my many impulse buys. I realize that 90% of my impulse buying centers around books and food. Figure that one out. Anyway, it was one of the few books I saw which was fantastical, but lacked the current topic of choice: vampires. So I picked it up with every intention of going ahead and reading it that day. Long story short, I did not get a chance to read it that day, or even for a few weeks after the fact. In fact, it sat staring at me from my bookshelf for over a month before I got past the blurb on the jacket. I did say this was an impulse buy, didn't I? So I finally settled down to read it and was sucked into the world of Kate and Jarrod. Short bios of the characters:

Kate is a social outcast, the daughter of a woman who has long since left for another life who is being raised by her grandmother Jillian. Jarrod is the new boy in town, clumsy, awkward, desperate to fit in and apparently the seventh son recipient of a rather powerful curse.

Curses don't get as much play in fantasy as they really should, they are such lovely things.

Jarrod, who carries the usual realist myopic view of the world, doesn't believe in curses or magic or anything he can't quantify and label. He is also very much a weak willed coward. Oddly enough, he always seems to have something of a backbone when it comes time to deny the existence of magic.

You spend the first half of the book dealing with the somewhat typical high school antics of drama queens and bullies, with a in class wind storm and coffee house earthquake thrown in. I have to admit to really feeling as if I was slogging through that section. However, them getting to go back in time to take on the originator of Jarrod's curse was much more interesting.

Rhauk, the curse maker and possible ancestor of Jarrod, is perhaps my favorite character out of the whole book, but I have a soft spot for deranged evil bastards. His best move: Tricking Kate into agreeing to stay with him. She's so level headed you almost can't believe he has managed it until she tells Jarrod to go home without her. Of course, Jarrod does no such thing. Instead, he stays and hones his gift to fight Rhauk to get Kate back.

The final showdown goes a bit unpredictably. I thought Jarrod might actually die, despite knowing that as a main character the chances of his demise were about .003%. Jarrod kills Rhauk and you would think this would eliminate the curse from his family, except Rhauk proves once again he is a thinking villain. He's been lying about his curse from the start. I won't tell you how because it will spoil the surprise.

Overall, I will read this again when I'm looking for something entertaining to eat up an afternoon. Even with the slogging sections, it was still a great book. Pick up a copy via Amazon.com or Half.com.

1 comment:

Will Mallette said...

Sounds like it might be an interesting book, and I may check it out. As a published author of a fantasy trilogy, I welcome you to take a look at my latest book, The Magic of Fuller, book one, "Keeper of the Stone". http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/TheMagicofFullerBookOne-KeeperoftheStone.html