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Magic Dark and Strange

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  96 reviews
The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final g
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 27th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  285 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Jasmine from How Useful It Is
This book was an excellent read! Definitely in time for a Halloween read because six chapters into the book and I have been spending a lot of time with the main character at a cemetery. I liked learning bits of history in books, like how Catherine worked at the newspaper building and lived there full-time. Also interesting that there were lamplighters with their poles and ladders to light the street lamps! The odd jobs teens do back in the day was interesting. I liked the slow burning romance. I ...more
Candace Robinson
ARC received via publisher!
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Sep 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
thank goodness I've been working around books for years so my arms are strong enough to hold all these new YA fantasy releases

Diana | Book of Secrets
MAGIC DARK AND STRANGE is a YA historical fantasy set in the Victorian-like city of Invercarn. The main character is 17-year old Catherine Daly who works at a print shop by day, and by night she raises the dead for grieving families who just want a few more moments with their departed loved ones — for a price. She and Guy Nolan, a watchmaker's son, end up entangled in a mystery involving a charmed timepiece said to be buried in an unmarked grave. Catherine's boss wants her to retrieve this item ...more
Briana Cohen
Nov 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What even happened in this book? The premise was so amazing and was so boring. The characters talked like they were forty year olds instead of the teenagers they supposedly were, and it wasn’t nearly as mysterious or magical it should’ve been. I’m struggling to write this review as I truly cannot recall a single plot point, but I know enough to tell you not to read this book.
Magic Dark and Strange was such a fun book to dive into. In it, you will meet Catherine and Guy. Now Catherine was pretty interesting all on her own. She kind of lives two different lives because during the day she works for a printer. By night she visits cemeteries and wakes up the dead so that their loves ones can say goodbye. Of course, there is a catch to what she does during the night life and I'm not even sure how to process it.

While reading this book, I had endless questions being formed
What a delightfully captivating tale, despite the lack of world-building. Rather than explain the magic, it just was. I have so many questions!?! While we understand the cost; we learn nothing of the world and how this magic came about. I would have liked a longer story with more depth. Having stated that, the characters and mystery were delightful, as was the twist on necromancy.

The more Catherine and Guy looked for answers, the more danger arose. Catherine was quite clever in pulling together
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
When I first saw that gorgeous cover, I was in love and I was hoping for a new favorite book. And while I was interested and entertained for the most part, a part of me is a little bit underwhelmed but I want to focus on the positives here. Magic Dark and Strange follows a girl who left her home in the country to work. There, she also finds out that her job will include resurrecting dead people for a short time so that their loved ones can say good-bye (for a price). Every hour given to that per ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
When I was pitched this book, I couldn’t resist it. Between the synopsis and cover, I was intrigued.

I liked Catherine. She’s smart and good and wants the best for the people she cares about. Guy is a charming, adorable marshmallow and Owen is filled with awkwardness, but rightfully so.

Plot wise, it felt like I was dropped in the middle of a story I should already be familiar with. There isn’t any mention of why magic exists or why only certain people have it and the explanation of a person’s a
Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★
Magic Dark And Strange is a gothic-style YA Fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead & a watchmaker's son who team up to solve a series of murders when a boy comes back to life! Powell delivers an atmospheric, immersive tale perfect for those who enjoy more quiet and character-driven mysteries!

Magic Dark And Strange ARC Review 💀💜

Having read and adored Powell's debut, I was so happy to have an early copy of this sent my way. I definitely think her books a
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick and engaging magical mystery set in the Victorian era. I absolutely adored the historical setting as I'm fascinated with this time period. Lanterns, cobblestone drives, horse carriages, bonnets, chiffon, and apprenticeships! Oh my!

But I do have to agree with most of the reviews in that the book did lack world building and character background which would have most likely fulfilled its expectations from that captivating front cover (which is why I felt compelled to drop a star).
Andy N
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I didn’t click with the story. In my opinion, there’s a lack of description on the time period, the culture, the surroundings and the clothing. These details are much needed for me to ‘see’ the world where the story takes place and I simply couldn’t make it happen.
Also, I think the characters cry quite a lot in this book, like I’m never seen before. It was a bit too much.
The plot had a lot of potential, however. It was quite original and refreshing. It was just lacking in importan
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
"I can't help but wonder," he said, "if more dreadfulness is yet to happen, if we've only just stepped into the dark."

I really wish I could've given this more than 3 stars. The book started out strong and atmospheric but quickly plateaued. I kept waiting and waiting but nothing ever really happened. I wanted more magic, more romance, more something...the characters spent a lot time just walking around investigating, it got old fast. I think this had an interesting premise, some beautiful prose,
I received and ARC copy of this from Margaret K. McElderry Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This was a really atmospheric historical mystery series with fun magical elements! It was a super quick and easy read that I absolutely flew through. It's just not a story I see sticking with me long after putting it down.

This had a really fun magical twist on a classic feeling historical mystery. I love mysteries set during the Victorian era and this definitely fit that bill. The char
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
I have to say, I really enjoyed this novel. But it could have been better.

This novel had a gorgeous story of a world where time is borrowed, given, and stolen, whether it's for a few more hours with a loved one whose passed or a few hours to live a bit longer for your family. It shows how normalized for this entire world that this transaction has become, even though it still invokes fear in it's users from time to time. This story also did a great job at instilling the idea that men have weakne
rein larue ☾ new bio ☽
First book of 2021! I picked this up because it was short, had a pretty cover and mostly because it seemed so intriguing! I was expecting to love this but that wasn't the case. I liked the beginning and the ending but it dragged in the middle. I feel like if it had more twists I would've liked it more. A pretty solid read and would recommend it to people but no the best book for when someone is in a reading slump! ...more
Sep 22, 2020 marked it as want-to-read-new
probably my most anticipated october release. THAT. COVER.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it did not like it
Meh. The idea for this book is so interesting and holds so much promise, but it ended up boring and devolved into a romance. And if the male lead could stop crying enough to do anything useful, the plot would be a lot faster. Pass.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book was so boring. No character development. No plot. Really all the characters were doing was running around looking for a watch. No mystery or suspense.
Kate Mersch
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book honestly didn't have a lot of development and nothing really happened. The description made it sound a lot more interesting then it was. ...more
Victoria Alyesa
2.5 stars - I was very excitedly received this beautiful arc from the lovely people at Simon and Schuster UK. I feel in love with this book when I saw the cover; then reading it is said to be a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and The Bone could you not want to read this! I was bouncing up and down waiting for it to arrive (even setting the cover to my phone background in anticipation). Seeing it in person the cover was even more beautiful and re-reading the blurb I could not hold myself ...more
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
34% into the book and I can’t continue. I literally fall asleep reading this. Twice. At 250 pages this should have taken me a few hours to read but here I am on day 2 struggling.

It’s boring. Like really boring. Nothing happens. Just lots of chatter and talk about finding this missing time piece. And lots of searching and asking around for it.

Maybe things pick up? I don’t know. I don’t feel anything for these characters either. I was shocked to find they are young. They act like middle age men
Autumn Vera
Dec 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I just want to say that I love the premise of the story, however I do wish there was more in depth description of the setting that the main character, Catherine is in. If the novel centers on magic and how people use magic throughout every day lives, then why isn't there more discussion to highlight on side of the story? It was frustrating to see how Catherine and her new companions made their way through each obstacle (if you can call them that). None of the road blocks appeared to b ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Actual rating 3.5

I enjoyed the story and the characters since this had a different take on necromancy. I found it was too short (just reaching over 200 pages) and wish the story had been lengthened to include more mystery and twists surrounding the aspect of magic.

I couldn't rate this four stars because of the magic. It wasn't explained at all and the end of the book left me with so many questions. Does everyone possess magic or only a few people? Are there different kinds of magic besides resur
Deanie Nelder
This book had a lot of potential. I like Catherine, and her talent for waking up the dead for a brief period is interesting. Reminds me a little of an old-fashioned Anita Blake (without the monster slaying). When she's sent to unearth a grave and find a watch that can bring back the dead permanently, she accidentally brings a boy back to life (with no memory). Now she, the boy, and her friend Guy (the son of the man who made the watch) need to solve the mystery of the watch because people are be ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
32% DNF this never got more interesting. boo.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
I initially began listening to this book with some high hopes. From its description, it sounded like it had a lot of the things I enjoy in a book - magic, mystery, and a world reminiscent of our own, at a time not unlike our near past. However, with lackluster characters and an investigation that took much longer than it should have, I found myself quickly growing disappointed with the book and waiting eagerly for it to end.

Catherine, the main character, has little to no personality. Her entire
Brittany Zimmerman
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating 3.5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Margaret K McElderry books for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

This book was cute! It had a bit of mystery, a slow, friends to lovers romance and a great friendship. I think my biggest issue with this was how confusing it could be at times. A lot of people are introduced in a small amount of time. But, the concept was interesting! I love a good paranormal mystery. It just lacked a little on the execution. But, it had great writing, character
Alyson Kent
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice, atmospheric read, though I had to knock a few stars off for lack of magical world building. I understood that the magic worked in a way that reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist's "Equivalent Exchange" a bit (in a give something up to obtain something way), but there's no explaining if this magic is available for everyone, or if it's only for certain people. Is it related to bloodline, or random?

Anyway, a fast read. Thank you, Netgalley, for the ARC.
Ellen Scheid
Jan 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
Audio book (Didn't like the narrator and I didn't like the story)

Maybe I have been reading books that are a little over-the-top and I am in the wrong to have held this book in the same high expectations, but I hated this book!

The summary for this book, comparing it to The Bone Witch and Sherlock Holmes, gives the reader hope that this will be a stunning mystery with action throughout the adventure. I did not think this was much of an adventure at all.

Catherine, Guy, and Owen are all whiny chara
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Kelly Powell writes fantasy for young adults and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. She has a bachelor's degree in history and book & media studies from the University of Toronto. ...more

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