Five-hundred years ago, sorcery began to fade from the world. As technology prevailed, combustion engines and computers replaced enchanted plows and spell books. Real magicians were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten. That is … until now.
Sorcery for Beginners is no fantasy or fairy tale. Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), this book is a how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It's also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long war when he uses sorcery to take on a school bully. Owen's spell casting attracts the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, all of whom wish to use Sorcery for Beginners to alter the course of world history forever.
About the Author
Matt Harry received an MFA in Film Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and has worked as a filmmaker, editor, screenwriter, college professor, movie critic, and story consultant. His writing has been published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer , the Akron Beacon-Journal , and the textbook The Elements of Style. He has received accolades from the FOX Comedy Script Contest, the Austin Film Festival, the Launchpad Manuscript Competition, and the Nicholl Fellowships. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. Sorcery for Beginners is his first novel.
Juliane Crump grew up in Los Angeles. She studied music in high school, art history at Yale, and film at USC before becoming a graphic designer for film and television. You can find her work on ABC, NBC, FOX, HBO, and at sloegoods.com. While sorcery eludes her, she makes magic every day with her Wacom tablet, her bagpipes, and her family of boys.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.5 This was a really good read. The formatting was very unique. The book is actually formatted like a guide book but with a story. The spells sprinkled throughout are beautifully illustrated. Even some of the "facts" in the sidebar boxes include a bit of humor. Owen is developed quite nicely as a character. At first he seems like an average kid but through team work with his friends and tough situations he learns how special he really is. The author does a good job of making you fall for each of the three main kids; you can't help but root for their success. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys books with magic and humor. It definitely has similarities to the first couple years of Harry Potter but without the boarding school setting.
Owen is a fairly average thirteen-year-old. He thinks so too. When his parents separate and he moves to a new school, things start to get stressful. While escaping a bunch of bullies, Owen ends up in a book store and receives a guide to magic. It seems pretty hard—he has to actually practice and work up to things—but he's determined and is soon using spells for his own purpose. His goal is to get his parents back together. But things don't stay smooth, and soon he finds himself caught up in a magical war, where he and his new found friends must save the book and maybe the world. This is a very clever dive into a magical tale. It's built up like a text book, but at the same time, reveals Owen's exciting story and experiences. There are footnotes and other notations, which add lovely little tidbits. . .some quite funny. . .which help avoid information dumps an insure that the reader receives the things they need to know. As Owen discovers magic, so does the reader. And it's exactly this format which is not only engaging but a delight to read. Owen is average, and he sees himself that way too. He isn't exactly a hard worker, but when something is important enough to him (like find the right spell), he does put forth the effort. Readers will have no trouble sympathizing with him and will see some of themselves reflected in him. His friends are a sheer delight, each so different from the other. While Owen's story drives the main plot, his friends aren't forgotten and have their own problems which need to be solved. This gives the book just the right amount of depth, and several interesting layers as well. This group also makes sure that Owen does sit as the only capable character, but rather lets the balance of friendship and working together shine through. Imagination fills this story as Owen discovers the world of magic. Some questions surrounding the magical world are left open, but most of the story wraps up in a lovely end. There's never a boring moment, but then, with the illustrations and other notations, there's always something to look forward to. Even the plot is not easy to predict and maintains a quick pace until the end. Summed up, this is an entertaining read which is sure to grab the interest of young fantasy and magic friends. I received a complimentary copy through the publisher and Netgalley, and found this book so fun and adventurous that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
One of my favorite parts about book blogging is reading books I wouldn't normally have learned about/picked up otherwise. That's the case with Sorcery for Beginners. It's not the type of book I would typically read; however, it's published by Inkshares, one of my new favorite publishers. Therefore, when I was offered the chance to read and review, I thought why not. I mean, I do love magic, and October is the PERFECT time to read magic filled books. The Result? If I was a middle grader, I would've been so in love with this book! I mean, it contains spells, fun facts, bad guys, and epic quest to save the day, and what middle grader doesn't love those things? Answer: (Almost) None. However, as a twenty something adult, I liked but didn't love this one. One of the aspects that made Sorcery for Beginners stand out to me was the way in which Matt Harry presented it. The combination of fun facts, illustrations, complete spells, and a narrative portions gives readers a little bit of everything. I especially loved the spells because they were presented just as the characters were learning about them in the narrative portion. Additionally, the format of Sorcery for Beginners makes this book fast paced and a ton of fun!It's never "bogged down" with one thing, which I think is perfect for younger readers, especially those who may be reluctant readers. The overall storyline in this book was interesting. I enjoy a quest to save the world as much as anyone else, and that rang true here. It was fun to see an "ordinary" character learn he wasn't quite as ordinary as he thought. Additionally, I loved the makeshift group that formed because of the magic. They were a funny group. There was one aspect that held me back from loving Sorcery for Beginners: the lack of development. Sometimes I wish more of the magic world would've been discussed. Additionally, I felt that some characters were better developed than others. In all, while I didn't LOVE this one to pieces, I still think it will find a strong fan group in the hands of younger readers. Plus with the holiday season quickly approaching, Sorcery for Beginners stands out as a great gift to give your favorite middle schooler! Grade: B-