Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: The Opposite of Magic by Colleen Cowley

*I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange of an unbiased review*
Emily Dagget has grown up reading fantasy novels, and since she can't live in one, she has decided to do the next best thing and pursue a degree in the history of magic in literature and folklore. After finishing her studies, Emily found a job in a small university and settled down as best as she could. 
Cue her finding out that not only magic exists, but that there is a real life wizard in her university. Too bad he's bad-tempered and not at all interested in teaching her how to use it. 
Emily is special, though (of course!). She has a power no one else has. This usually pisses me off, but it didn't bother me at all it this book, because her power has as many (potentially life-threateing) drawbacks as it has advantages.  
In general, Emily is a very likable character: she's enthusiastic, she's kind and she won't let her guy walk all over her. She's brave, but she isn't reckless. She risks her life because it might save other people, she's not in it for the thrill, and neither does she get involved by accident, which are the two most common cases in this kind of books.
I also really liked the fact that she likes to read fantasy books and is delighted upon finding out that magic exists, which is a reaction I haven't seen often. Usually urban fantasy heroines are really angsty and moody. Still, she isn't obnoxious or immature: even though she has always dreamed of living an adventure, she isn't happy when she really gets to battle an evil wizard, because people are getting hurt or killed.
Emily's love interest, the side characters and the villains are all very interesting, well-develloped and enjoyable characters, too. 
The world-building is another thing I really liked about "The Opposite of Magic". The way magic is handled is very clever and it's also not something I have seen before. I'm not going to give away what it is, but it's something that gives a lot of possibilities, and Cowley exploited them throughly. 
The romance I think is one of the weakest aspects of the novel. Don't get me wrong, they do have chemistry, but the author uses a trope I can't stand. You know how everybody despises love triangles, but I don't find them all that bad? Well this trope is my version of a love triangle. It's the "I'm breaking her heart and making her despise me because I love her and I'm dangerous to be around" trope. She's  not a child and it's her call to decide wether or not she thinks he's worth the risk. 
Also, he lies and manipulates Emily throughout the whole novel. She calls him out on it, sure, but it still pisses me off. 
Another thing that I didn't like about the novel was the fact that the story kept going and a lot of important stuff happened after the defeat of the villain, which puzzled me, because I kept expecting the book to end, but it never did. It would have been better to have those things happen before the final battle. 
All in all, I'm very glad I read it, and I definitely recommend it if you want to read a magical realism book that doesn't fall into the same old, clich├ęd tropes (at least for the most part). 


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