Clare Cannon's Reviews > Ordinary Magic

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
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's review
May 23, 2012

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bookshelves: 08-12yrs
Read on August 07, 2012

After a strong start this magical story about a girl with no magic peters out to a steady but not terribly engaging conclusion. The premise of this first book in a new series is ingenious: in a world where 'normal' means magical, 'ords' (ordinary people without magical ability) form a lesser class. At the start of this story, Abigail learns that she is an ord, and initially, her family are devastated.

Until recently ords were unprotected in the kingdom, but the new young King has established a special school where they are educated in their own safety and protected from those who would sell them as slaves, as well as from goblins who would feed on them. Abigail's sister happens to work at this establishment (she has an inexplicable concern for the welfare of ords even before her sister is diagnosed), and she secures her sister a place.

The themes woven throughout the story are surprisingly noble, and yet I often felt they were undeveloped and generally unconvincing. Abigail has an unusually loving family; most ords are cast off by their families, but hers is determined to look after her. Every time she gets into a scrape (usually involving kidnapping) her family come running. Though they are usually too late to help her, there is no doubt that they love her. But there is no context or reason offered for why they are so different to everyone else in this regard.

The story sometimes also felt like a Christian parable about the Good King who is concerned for the smallest and weakest. This too is a noble theme, but we don't learn much about who the King is, or why he is so good. It's just given that he is.

While the dangers for the ords are nasty and real, some are resolved in ways that seem too sudden or unexplained, and others are inexplicably left hanging. And in my opinion characters are interesting only for what they do; one never really gets a sense of who they are.

However, in spite of the unengaging style and sketchy character development, avid readers looking for something new may be attracted to an original plot and an abundance of noble themes.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Hayley (new)

Hayley Wow, very thorough review, Clare! I'm interested to read more of your reviews. ;)

Clare Cannon Hayley... it's been ages!!! (yes I'm working on shortening the reviews - but the shorter they are the longer they take :)

Let's chat soon - I'm sorry it's been so long :)

message 3: by Hayley (new)

Hayley Don't be sorry... I feel guilty every time I think of you and how long I've left it!!! We've just had a sucky Winter... not coming up for air between rounds of illness, lol. Not counting the bazillion colds we've all had, there's been croup, a vomiting bug, bronchitis and now conjunctivitis for the girls... how many more days till Spring?!!!

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