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Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick. Magic is a magic novel by Mike Russell. (Suitable for adults of all ages.)

268 pages, Paperback

First published March 5, 2020

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About the author

Mike Russell

9 books275 followers
Mike Russell is a British author best known for the short story collection 'Nothing Is Strange'. He is also the author of the short story collections 'Strange Medicine', 'Strange Secrets' and 'Strange Wonders', the novellas 'Strungballs' and 'The Man Whose Wife Was The Moon' and the novels 'The Exploding Book' and 'Magic.'

Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.

Mike Russell was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Falmouth University and a Master of Arts from the University of Central England.

Mike Russell’s books have been described as Strange Fiction, Weird Fiction, Weird Lit, Surrealism, Fantasy Fiction… but he just likes to call them Strange Books.

“Russell’s stories are humorous, engaging and poetically direct.” Beautiful Bizarre Magazine

“Simple yet wacky, funny and charming. Mike Russell seems to have mastered the art of throwing absurdities onto paper, while keeping his writing bright and interesting at the same time.” Cultured Vultures

“I always look forward to Mike Russell’s work – he’s so out-there that it’s refreshing.” Oddly Weird Fiction

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,356 reviews11.8k followers
June 13, 2020

Magic is magic!

Having read and posted reviews of Mike Russell's previous strange books, Nothing is Strange, Strange Medicine, Strange Secrets, Strungballs, The Exploding Book, I wondered how Mike would infuse new energy, new life, a new special strange something into his most recent fiction.

Outstanding news, folks! As if written with a pen doubling as magic wand, Magic bursts forth with a newness and strange energy that will keep any reader gladly turning the pages.

The book's narrator, Charlie Watson, tells the tale of magicians and magic and the creation of the universe out of nothing, how he himself became a famous magician and how and why he wrote the very book we are reading.

But enough of generalizations. Allow me to perform my own style of reviewer magic (nothing up my sleeves!) by linking my comments to a trio of direct Magic quotes taken from the first two chapters:

"Before the universe existed there was a giant, black, upside-down top hat surrounded by empty, black nothingness." The opening sentence sets the tone: the narrator tells his story (or the story of the universe) with quirky humor and wit that immediately draws a reader in.

"In a way, though, there was someone watching. In a way, you were watching. You weren't there all those millions of years ago, of course, but you're watching it now. These words that I'm writing are showing it all to you in your mind." Ah, the magic of literature: a writer creates images (one of Mike's strengths is creating clear, vivid images) and, by a sheer act of imagination, a reader forms mental images, mental pictures.

"But my mother and father weren't my real parents because they didn't look after me. Manzini the Marvellous always looked after me. He never even hit me and he only shouted at me once, when I tried to peek inside his special room." One can surely detect these lines speak to how the tale is one of heart and emotion. Actually, as I was reading, I kept wondering how much of his own personal biography Mike incorporated into his tale.

Lastly, one abiding theme of Mike's writing, not only Magic but the other Strange Books he's written: death and rebirth, death and transformation. This above lines about one's true parentage also bring to mind the following mythic tale from India:

"There once was a lion cub raised by sheep. It began acting like a sheep, even began making baa baa baa sounds like a sheep. An adult lion came by and immediately understood what had happened. She grabbed the cub by the fur and carried it to a lake where it could peer into the water and see it wasn’t a sheep at all; it was a lion."

Magic invites us to take the readerly plunge. Is your sheep nature only an illusion? Is your true nature that of a being of magic?

British author Mike Russell, born 1973
Profile Image for Ari.
779 reviews181 followers
April 20, 2020
Blog | Amazon | Instagram | Twitter

Thank you to StrangeBooks for this book. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

"The world without magic, in which you now believe yourself to live,
is just as much a delusion as the world with magic,
in which you used to believe yourself to live.
It too is a delusion that must be destroyed.
All delusions must be destroyed to reveal the truth."

The message of Magic is a simple but a powerful one: Life is worth living.

This is certainly a strange story, and it took me a second to find my footing once I began reading it, but it endears itself to you through the lead. Charlie Watson, in his early twenties, still retains the kindness and empathy that he had as a child. He starts the novel with the strong belief that magic is real, and despite the fact that his belief falters at times—as well as the fact that he is bullied plenty for it—in the end, he strives to not only keep living his life in the abundance of magic that he knows exists, but tries to open the eyes of others so that they can see the same thing that he does. He has an unfailing spirit that is nothing if not admirable.

Magic are incredibly whimsical to the point of disbelief a lot of times, but you can't help becoming lost in the storytelling. And through Charlie, your eyes are opened slightly more to the world around you and the fact that no matter how mundane it appears to be, the mere fact that you get to exist every day is special.
Profile Image for Karen Hendry.
12 reviews14 followers
September 26, 2020
Thank you to StrangeBooks for providing me with a e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie Watson believes that magic is real and he wants everyone to know it too. Charlie decided to write a book to show his thoughts on his journey to becoming famous. This is the book he wrote. Charlie explains why he always wears a top hat, why he has so many rabbits, how magic wands are made and so much more. This story documents the strange series of events that lead Charlie from England all the way to the Arctic. When he reaches the Arctic, Charlie will perform his greatest feat. Was it just a trick? or did the world witness real magic?

What I liked

Charlie's theory of the universe is an interesting take on how the universe began.

The magic shows were well described. The scene was set in such a way that you could clearly imagine what was going on, to the point that it felt like you were really there.

The characters are also easy to picture as they are described in detail.

Throughout the book Charlie makes assumptions on what other characters are feeling. I found this to be a quirky character trait and some of the comments he makes are quite funny.

The story is told from the perspective of Charlie and is written almost in the form of a journal.

What I didn't like

On a few occasions the story was quite repetitive and I felt as though I was rereading parts. This occurs mostly at the beginning of the book.

This is a quick and interesting read. I would recommend this book to any adult who has an interest in magic or who enjoys books about magic.

4 stars

Find this review and others on my blog

Profile Image for Catherine.
314 reviews77 followers
May 11, 2020
I’ve read almost all of Mike Russell’s books, and I have to say that this one is my favourite one. The beginning where the inception of magicians was described was one of the best parts, it was very clever and whimsical and set the tone for the rest of the book. Something about this kind of reminded me of something you’d see in a Tim Burton movie – at least, that’s the way I pictured things in my head! Charlie was silly and sweet, and I fell in love with him and his quest for magic. I remember going to magic shows as a kid and being amazed at all they could do right in front of our eyes – reading this book gave me that feeling again.

I especially liked the message of the story, I thought it was really heart warming and sweet: everything is magic, even the most mundane, and if you go about your life believing in magic, you will always find it. 😊
Profile Image for Martim Lou.
1 review12 followers
July 2, 2020
Life changing book on the magically heart-warming, child-like, metaphysical nature of reality!

Get this book and you'll be able to see Magic ;)
Profile Image for Alexx.
295 reviews62 followers
April 4, 2020
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

I’ve read Strange Secrets by Mike Russell last year and I enjoyed it a lot. So when I was asked to review a new book from him, I was excited to dive in!

Magic is a strange yet funny and heartwarming story that will make you think about magic and the world, and will make you wonder just how real magic is.

What you need to know, first of all, is that this book is sort of a personal account of Charlie Watson and his strange journey with magic. Charlie, our protagonist, is directly talking to the readers and telling us about his various encounters with different people, telling us about his thoughts and feelings. As a result, I was able to fully connect and understand Charlie as a character. He’s kind, innocent and childlike, and although that can be a little annoying at first, it’s impossible to hate him. He goes through many changes and the readers are right there with him. At the end of the book, I loved his character arc!

The plot is truly strange and interesting, and yet it has a heartwarming touch to it. I felt like it was a little bit dragging at the first few parts, but once the conflict has been introduced, it has been an exciting turn of events. Charlie met a lot of people who made him realize different things, people who made him question whether magic is real or not, and people who made him think about the existence of everything.

There are also a couple of issues talked about in the book. Bullying was a recurring theme and I love the subtlety of various characters overcoming it. Suicide/depression was also talked about in the story, but I feel like the author could have expounded more on that.

Overall, this was quite a nice read and I recommend it to those who are looking for a little magic!

(This review was first published on Enthralled Bookworm.)
Profile Image for Aakriti.
24 reviews8 followers
April 27, 2020
"𝑰𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒔𝒎𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈".

Thank you to the publisher for not just providing me this book but introducing me to an amazing author that I was missing out on.

Charlie Watson (our narrator and the author of the book within this book) has been raised by Manzini The Marvellous, a magician. He has been raised to believe in magic with the most adorable stories of our universe. But after Manzini dies and the world starts opening up to Charlie, his faith in magic shakes and he is determined to find the reality of magic. It is his daily entry in the book that we read.⠀

I am gonna start with narration and the narrator. It is so interactive, fun, and easy to read. It also has subtle and child-like humor (which keeps you in awe of Charlie). He talks to the readers about his day, his interaction with people, his imaginations, his confusions and that helps us to connect to the book so much better.⠀

And there is so much mystery in the book. So many twists are added to every next chapter that you end up devouring the book in a few hours.⠀

In 1984, George Orwell said, "𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒔, 𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒄𝒆𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅, 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒂𝒍𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚.", and I think it applies very well to this book. ⠀

We know about depression, bullying, empathy, the beauty of the world but it needs to be told to us again and again, for it to come to the surface. The book asks us to be more appreciative of our surroundings and ourselves. And since Charlie is such an innocent character, the explanations for all problems and their solutions are basic and still extremely effective. The book sheds light on things that are right in front of our eyes but we are failing to notice.⠀

This is one of those books that turn out to be enchanting or "magic" because of the sheer simplicity of it.⠀

Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gordon Long.
Author 27 books33 followers
June 21, 2020
I’m not usually in favour of introductions to fiction. I think the first chapter should speak for itself. However, in the case of this novel, I’m going to make an exception. The introduction doesn’t introduce the book; it introduces the narrator. It sets the tone, the writing style, and the personality perfectly. So, don’t skip the introduction. You’ll be glad you read it.

In fact, I find myself making a lot of exceptions when I talk about this book, because Mr. Russell breaks a lot of the rules. To be exact, it’s not Mr. Russell that’s breaking the rules, it’s the narrator, Charlie Watson. We soon forget all about whoever Mr. Russell is because we become immersed in Charlie’s story and Charlie’s thoughts and feelings.

And Charlie is not a usual person. He is difficult to define. In the old days, he would have been called an idiot savant, harsh as that sounds. He is a simple soul of limited intelligence and a special brand of widespread wisdom. He is likeable, thoughtful, and loving in his simple way. He is an ideal and idealistic human being, and because of this he always rises above the woes that the world throws at him.

And then there’s the magic. As Charlie goes through the journey of his exploration of magic, he redefines the concept constantly: part philosophy, part metaphysics, part psychology, and always fantastical.

My only problem with Charlie is that he talks too much. Because he sees thing simply, he always explains concepts from the very bottom up, never assuming any prior knowledge on the part of the reader, because he has none himself. At times I found myself devouring every word intently. At others I found myself skipping through huge quantities of long paragraphs, scanning topic sentences to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Which probably means I did miss something, but there you have it.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants a fresh, imaginative look at the magic of the world and the depth of the human soul.
Profile Image for Tori.
52 reviews5 followers
December 3, 2020
I'd like to thank StrangeBooks for gifting me a copy for review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Magic is littered with metaphors and different ways of perceiving life as we know it, through eyes so much more innocent and accepting than our own. I think we can all learn a thing or two from Charlie about appreciating life and seeing the beauty and magic in ordinary things that we might have never thought to be extraordinary. Making flowers grow is no less magic than making them appear out of thin air, and standing on this Earth is no less magic than levitating above it; life is magic, and it surrounds us all.
Profile Image for mònica • nightingfae.
67 reviews14 followers
July 15, 2020
Originally published on nightingfae's blog

"We've found all these rules that can't be broken and I'm sorry but magic breaks the rules so it can't exist."

With some fantasy, Mike Russell tries to show us that life is fantastic, that we’re lucky to be alive, that we should value it, taking care of oneself, treating others kindly and respectfully, and trying to cheer them up when they’re feeling down. The point of this book is to show you that live is worth living, that it will be beautiful to be alive if you value every little thing, every moment, and every person you go through or cross paths with in your life. But the whole purpose gets a bit lost at times between the writing style and some raw scenes. Because of the latter is why I think this book should come with some trigger warnings such as sex, blood, depression, suicide or murder on its description, because there are really tough scenes that I didn’t expect and can be harmful for some people.

About the writing style, I found it so simple. I suppose the main idea was that it looked like the book was written by a 23-year-old guy who clearly had a mental disease –I don’t know which, since it’s not mentioned in the book–. So that’s why I’m not sure if I should say that it’s well done since the author has achieved his objective, or if otherwise the style is this kind of poor because that’s basically the author’s writing style. I guess I should read something else from him to get a clear view of his writing and the way he gives life to his characters.

"And that's when I realised that everything is magic!"

The purpose and the overall view of the book make it a good one, with a moral at the end. So even if you might be feeling like you’re reading a children’s fantasy book while reading it, you’ll find out that the whole point of the story is for adults to realize that we should see the world just as children do, appreciating every little thing in life, even a bunch of flowers growing through the pavement in the middle of the street.

Thanks StrangeBooks for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Savannah Worman (Sav’s Review).
50 reviews30 followers
May 19, 2020
Magic is the kind of book you read when you need to feel happy. It will whisk you away to a strange world so much like our own, but also so different.

Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick. Magic is a magic novel by Mike Russell.

(Description from Amazon)

My favorite thing about this novel is that it never loses hope. The main character Charlie struggles with the idea that maybe magic isn’t real, and it causes him to slip into depression. In this novel they call it, the pull of the hole, because the Arctic and Antarctic have holes in them that lead all the way through the Earth and spit out the other side. Everyone who doesn’t believe in Magic feels the pull of the hole, and many people who feel it jump in and die. But, even when Charlie feels the pull he doesn’t give up. At one point Charlie says,

“If you jump into the hole-through-the-Earth, you’ll never know what might have happened if you hadn’t. Something amazing might have happened! Something more amazing than anything you could have imagined!”
That really resonated with me because suicide is a hard subject. My family has experienced its aftermath like many others and the pain never truly goes away. These words are right, if you end it you’ll never know what could have happened.

At first, I didn’t really like Charlie because he was gullible and child-like, but he did grow on me, and I often found myself feeling bad for him. He believes in lies that were told to him by one of the only people that treated him with dignity and it all comes crashing down. Mike Russell does a fantastic job of setting Charlie up for disappointment, but not making him a miserable character. Charlie’s life starts to come crashing down when he visits a magic show, I knew it wasn’t going to end well when he said,

“It’s a ridiculous thing to think because a magician would never do that. A magician would never trick an audience.”
I knew in that moment I was about to watch a train wreck, but Charlie never becomes a hard character to read, even when he feels the pull of the hole.

Russell also does a great job of setting up a world adjacent to our own. Everything is pretty much the same but a few key elements are different. The book opens with a different telling of the Big Bang, it starts like this,

“Before the universe existed, there was a giant, black, upside-down top hat surrounded by empty, black nothingness. There was nothing inside the top hat and there was nothing outside the top hat. The top hat was all there was, except for the nothingness. And the nothingness went on forever.”
I love when authors retell either the story of creation or the Big Bang to set up their worlds, because it creates familiarity. I know I’m entering a world similar to mine even though it might not be the same. Russell does a fantastic job of bridging that gap between our reality and the reality of this book.

I wasn’t too fond of this story being told through Charlie’s diary, because the character is a rambler and he seems like an unreliable narrator. The book seems like it’s going to end, then doesn’t. While I’m glad it doesn’t actually end because the novel has a fabulous ending, I didn’t like the feeling of okay, we’re done, just kidding. It was a roller coaster of strange anticipation that was more of a distraction than interesting. But, I will say that through Charlie’s writing Russell makes a really good point. Charlie/Russell writes,

“These words that I’m writing are showing it all to you in your mind. That’s what words can do. I describe something using words and you see what I’m describing in your mind.”
I love this quote because it’s so true, and perfectly expresses the idea of storytelling. Writing is magic, because somehow authors are able to transport their vision into your mind.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Magic earns a 4/5 stars. Thank you to Mike Russell and Jay from StrangeBooks for reaching out to me.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Laura.
382 reviews16 followers
June 21, 2021
Again I find myself entering the strange and wonderful world of Mike Russel, having read ‘Nothing Is Strange’ and really enjoying it, I wanted to read more from this author.

Unlike ‘Nothing Is Strange’ which is a series of short bizarre stories, ‘Magic’ has its own stand alone world which I was eager to explore! So, with the cats cuddled around me and my customary mug of tea and a selection of biscuits I began my descent into ‘Magic’.

Our main character and narrator here is called Charlie, who comes across as quite naive, slightly odd and vulnerable. He walks around in a full magician’s outfit, including a top hat. He lives in a house that used to belong to his adopted father Manzini the marvelous, who adopted him when his abusive parents passed away.

The house itself is beautifully described and very easy to picture, there are hundreds of white rabbits hopping around everywhere, they fill every room! There are gold framed pictures of the late Manzini the marvelous, each picture telling its own story.

The narrator speaks from a level of pure childlike innocence which makes him likeable very early on. Seeing the world through Charlie’s eyes is enough to make even the grumpiest of people smile! The character is like a guiding light in the darkness.

Throughout the story we are treated to many bizarre happenings provoking a range of emotions, usually I’m quite good at predicting what’s coming next but with this I had no idea! Even when I did have a bit of a clue, I was wrong! Something I found partially amusing was that Charlie makes assumptions on what other characters are thinking and feeling, for example:

“You a magician then?” He asked me.

“I’m not a magician. I just love magicians so much that I like to dress like them.”

The man laughed. You might be thinking that because he laughed he was happy, but I could tell from the way he laughed that he wasn’t. He hadn’t laughed because he was happy, he laughed because he thought I was stupid for dressing like magician. He was probably thinking:

“I may be miserable but at least I’m not an idiot like him“

This is actually a very clever book, what you are reading is not really what’s happening, you need to look for the deeper meaning of what’s being said. There are many powerful messages within these pages, along with words of wisdom and I highly recommend you pick this one up. Russell has created something very special here, his ability to tell a story and provoke such raw vivid thoughts and emotions in the reader is absolutely remarkable. I could literally talk forever about this book but I don’t want to spoil it for those who are still to stumble across this work of art!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Jay at strangebooks for dropping this book into my life!
Profile Image for Crystina.
78 reviews
November 3, 2020
Magic is the second book I’ve read by Mike Russell, and it definitely continues to perpetuate what seems to be an overarching theme of his writing: the whimsicality of otherness. His writing continues to come off as consistently surreal, as Russell is one the better surrealist writers. In Magic, he again utilises simplistic writing to vividly illustrate a dadaistic view version of the world, that at times feels a little like a fever dream.

Magic takes a magical view of the world in the most literal sense, going so far as to describe the big bang as an immense act of magic. Magic in this book is often present as a soft version of itself, for the sake of continuing the themes of otherness. There is certain humour that the softer writing style allots Russell, as he tells a story that manages to feel anything but serious. The book isn’t really meant to be serious, but for those who like to look deep to find more existential themes Russell’s work delivers.

This book is a speedy read, largely due to the casual writing style. The experience of reading this book is reminiscent of the whimsy of reading a magical children’s book, only more existential. It’s a great comfort read, something that really lightens the mood; which is honestly what we need most this year.

While I enjoyed this book very much, for purely subjective reasons, my personal rating is a little lower. This, I believe, is primarily due to personal circumstances that simply led to this book just not sitting right with me. I think that if I read under a calmer circumstance, I would have easily rated it higher, but as of late books such as this haven’t appealed to me. Regardless I’m interested in reading more by Russell in the future, as well as keeping up with the author’s releases. I recommend this book to anyone who just needs to escape for a bit in the more relaxing reading environment this book creates.
Profile Image for Emily | bookswithraven .
237 reviews18 followers
January 4, 2021
Review from https://bookswithraven.wordpress.com/

Charlie Watson believes in magic. He is writing in this book to document everything he knew about magic and he wants to share it with everyone. In this book the readers gets to go on this journey with Charlie as he becomes a famous magician. Charlie is a child-like adult, he very kind and empathetic towards everyone. He was raised by Manzini The Marvellous, a magician, who sadly passed away before the book begins. The book intends to tell us why Charlie wears top hats, why he has so many rabbits, how magic wands are made and many more magical questions. When Charlie makes a spontaneous trip from England to the Arctic to perform a magic trick, was it a trick or was it magic?

I loved how this book was written like Charlie's diary entry. We only get to read about what he tells us about in the book. Charlie is a lovely character with a quirky personality. In his book he gives a voice to inanimate object, like his rabbits. It was funny to read what he thought they were saying. Charlie gives an amazing description of how magic created the universe which was such a unique way of thinking.

Books with the theme of magic seem to a sci-fi kind of magic, if that makes sense. This book describes old fashioned magic, like pulling rabbits out of top hats or changing the colour of a cloth. I cannot recall ever reading a book which talks about magic in this way. I found the book to be amazingly written through the voice of a simple person. His child-like personality means he does not see the world how everyone else does, I enjoyed listening to how he thought the world works.

Throughout the book, the objective of Charlie's writing was changing due to events which happened. There were many twists in the book but it ended in such a heartwarming way. Despite the twists and turns, Charlie discovers that everything is magic, life is magic. It is as simple as that.
Profile Image for Lindsay Lacher.
270 reviews17 followers
March 25, 2021
***Disclaimer: I was provided with a digital copy of this book from StrangeBooks in exchange for an honest review***

Magic is real! Magic is real? Magic is real, isn't it?

Magic by Mike Russell is a mind boggling novel that takes readers on an interesting adventure as one Charlie Watson tries to verify the existence of magic....or not.

Honestly, this book is difficult to explain because the concept is quite bizarre...but in a good way. It is different. It feels both familiar and new at the same time. This book has an almost childlike feel to it; simple, whimsical and slightly goofy. The narration is reminiscent of a Lemony Snicket book with copious amounts of humor scattered in however, it also has a slightly deeper and surprisingly darker side to it as well.

Charlie Watson is both a loveable character as well as a pitiable one and his story is one that will capture your attention and make you question what exactly is going on and what is to come.

Overall, I found this to be a surprisingly enjoyable read. While there are parts that I found to be a bit repetitive and rambling (almost irritatingly so), they ultimately enforced the narration and plot in ways that I wasn't expecting.

I would say that I do think this story should be prefaced with some trigger warnings. Based on the overall description of this book, I was not expecting some of the darker themes that popped up and was slightly thrown off by them at first. Suicide, depression, mental health and abuse are definitely key points of subtext within this novel and if you find them to be sensitive topics, then I would suggest proceeding with this read with caution.

That being said, I would highly suggest picking this novel up and giving it a try.
6 reviews
July 9, 2020
I was recently contacted by the publisher asking if I would like to read and review this book. It sounded intriguing, so I said yes!

‘Magic’ is written from the point of view of Charlie Watson, a young man who was brought up by a magician. Naturally, he believes in magic! The book comprises a series of events that affect Charlie's belief and relationship with magic.

This book is written in short and simple sentences in a casual and conversational style, from the first-person perspective of Charlie. It was easy to read, and my first impression after reading chapter one was that it was a children's book. However, It soon became clear in the next chapter that it is definitely not a children's book because it contains some adult themes!

Despite not being a genre I would usually pick up, the first few chapters got me intrigued. I was interested to see where it would go! By the time I got a few chapters in, I was definitely enjoying this book.

‘Magic’ is full of unexpected twists and turns, and was certainly not predictable. Such random and bizarre stuff happened that I didn't expect, even when I had got used to it being quite a strange book! This made it very amusing at times.

As well as being a unique and amusing book, it contains some very real messages and lessons. This book will certainly make its readers think, and potentially make them into a better, happier person. Despite being a fantasy, ‘Magic’ is very relevant to real life.

I would recommend ‘Magic’ because I think it would be difficult NOT to enjoy it, even if just for pure curiosity and amusement value. But as mentioned, there are also some real lessons to be gained from this book.
Profile Image for Kevin.
122 reviews
December 23, 2020
Firstly I’d like to thank strangebooks for The opportunity to review one of their new publications, ‘Magic’ by Mike Russell.

From the outset, the novel is engagingly bizarre, giving the big bang theory a magical revamp in the shape of the entire universe coming out of a top hat. What’s more, our protagonist and narrator (a 23- year-old, top hat wearing odd-bod) seems completely accepting of this far-fetched explanation to the origins of life, to the point that he fully believes there are invisible magicians looking after our little planet, crying blue handkerchief tears for us when we are sad, that they pull from their eyes, roll up in balls and make it all go away; magicians that can resurrect the dead in order for them to see the living when visiting their graves and others that choose to become visible and live the life of a mortal, doing magic shows and spreading the word.

We soon find out why Charlie Watson is so resolute In his belief; everything becomes clear and an interesting reflection of how we ourselves see the world comes with it.

As a sceptic of magic, I thought the novel was up against it to strike a chord with my cold practical self but in parts it did. Admittedly, the didactic, childlike tone of the text felt a little jarring, and there were some magical/unbelievable events which went a little too far but the message of the book was strong and wasn’t diminished: magic is not about magic per se, it’s about how we look at the world, what we choose to believe and how to shape the world by shaping the mind.
Profile Image for Cathleen (Woven From Words).
155 reviews11 followers
April 22, 2020
**I received a copy of ‘Magic’ through the publisher, in exchange for an honest review**

‘Magic’ by Mike Russell is a fun story about a person’s ability to discover the power of magic in his life, no matter how dire the consequences. The story follows the journey of Charlie Watson, a young man adopted by a magician due to a difficult upbringing. After his adoptive parent passes away, Charlie is drawn to a magicical performance in his area. Having a close connection to magic himself, Charlie believes that he has found a kindred spirit that he can gain knowledge from. What he actually discovers is much more than he could have imagined!

Throughout the book, Charlie goes on a wild journey of revelations. His entire life is based on the knowledge learned form his adoptive parent: magic exists to make people happy. He also wants to share this knowledge with everyone around him. Along the way he uncovers the wide scope of emotion that people experience: disbelief, sadness, hope. While Charlie’s belief system is faced with challenged, it ultimately provides him with a renewed awareness on the true meaning of magic.

I really appreciated reading ‘Magic’, and I think that people would love this story filled with unexpected twists and turns!
Profile Image for Evita.
15 reviews
July 1, 2020
The book is told through the perspective of Charlie, who believes magic is real. And then doesn’t. And then does again. With the help of his neighbour, his new job and various invisible magicians, Charlie wants to prove to the world that magic is real. Because it is, right? Maybe not anymore. Or maybe magic is everywhere and not just in some places.

Although I personally would not have picked this book on my own, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. The beginning of the book was very chaotic, the book got progressively better to a point where I could not put it down near the end. Charlie’s wonderful and childlike perspective on the world gives new wonder to the mundane things in life. Charlie's inability to understand the complicated evil of the world made me sympathize with him enormously, and I found myself wishing that I could jump into the book to give him a long hug.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to see the world from a different perspective, and maybe discover a little magic along the way. It does contain mature themes but is not terribly graphic, so I would recommend ages 14 and up.
Profile Image for Priya.
126 reviews28 followers
October 13, 2020
I received the kindle version of this book.

‘Magic’ is written from the point of view of Charlie Watson, a young man who was brought up by a magician.
Charlie Watson believes in magic, and he wants everyone to know it too.

The story starts as, “Before the universe existed, there was a giant, black, upside-down top hat surrounded by empty, black nothingness.”

The book is purely based on magic, and the story revolves around Charlie and his life events. Through Charlie, the reader learns about how magic can create happiness. The story has ups and downs, and the meaning and existence of magic is proven, disproven, and altered.
Because the story has ups and downs, the meaning and importance of magic varies in the novel.

The main character, Charlie Watson, is innocent and naïve. His characterisation makes the novel even better to read.

It is well-written and as per the title, it is “MAGICAL”.

The last chapter left a smile on my face.

It is a happy read and will definitely uplift your mood. Moreover, the cover is so attractive to add in to your book collections.

Full review on blog: https://wp.me/pcmuLm-5n
Profile Image for Bri Hotchksis.
6 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2020
A world where everyone sees and believes in the magic of everything is a world that I want to live in...

Magic is a quirky, fun, and honest book… one that makes you sit back and just think about things a little differently. One that leaves you feeling like you understand the way things work just a little bit more than you did before. This book is a transcendental ride disguised as a child-like, lighthearted read.

I loved that this book fooled me into believing it was silly and too lighthearted to be taken seriously, only to later force me to do some of the deepest soul-searching that I’ve done in a while. I loved that I left the book wanting to see and think as Charlie Watson does, and I loved that I wanted to try to make everyone else around me see and think like him too.

A wonderful, whimsical ride.

Read the entire review on my blog: https://booksandshadows.com/magic-boo...
Profile Image for Jeff.
557 reviews10 followers
March 31, 2020
This novel is told from the point of view of Charlie Watson, a boy in his late teens who is fascinated with magic and magicians. He is not merely fascinated by magic tricks; he believes that magic itself is real. Charlie had been an abused child and adopted by a magician called Manzini the Marvellous, who told him how the universe, and magicians, came into being. After Manzini dies, Charlie, though a series of encounters, finds himself question whether magic is, in fact, real or just a lot of trickery. There are many twists and turns in his life before he find the answer. This book, through different perspectives, will challenge you to think about what is magic or not and might even make you wonder about the nature of existence itself.
274 reviews1 follower
July 13, 2020
Thank you to the publisher for this incredibly unique book! I have genuinely never read anything like this before and for quite a while I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not but I came to the decision that I’m absolutely in love with this strange, magical book. Charlie is maybe the most endearing protagonist I’ve ever read about. He seems to be LD and was adopted by a magician but after their death, his stalwart belief in magic is shaken by something. Through his diary entries incredible things happen and whenever you might think you know where something is going you’re thrown a curveball, right up to the last pages of the book. A simple title but there’s nothing that could better summarise this view on the mysteries of the universe.
Profile Image for Liliyana Shadowlyn.
2,224 reviews65 followers
August 17, 2020
Magic is bursting with magical, wonderful things. I think the only way this book could be any more magical is if there were fantastical illustrations to accompany the wonderful story.  Definitely something anyone whose attention can be held by a story that only shows pictures in your mind instead of on the page can enjoy, I can't recommend this enough as an escape from the dreary reality of our times. Russell reawakened the love I had for magic as a kid, and I hope it will spark that love in anyone who reads it, whether they had it before or not.
Profile Image for Valia.
170 reviews
March 26, 2022
Big thanks to StrangeThings for sending me this as an e-book when it came out. I've struggled a lot with picking it up. Mike's books just can't be read on the phone. I need to feel the book in my hands.

So I bought a paperback copy and I swallowed it for a day. The story really took me in. I understand more of it than I can describe. I get the meaning and the message and the whole magic with it, but it's my current mentality that found some bits of it annoying and I couldn't really appreciate it. Maybe I need to find some magic too.
40 reviews
February 17, 2021
When I started reading this book it was too weird and strange and I knew I probably wouldn't finish it. After each chapter I thought, "why am I reading this book"? It's so strange and so different from what I like to read. After about the 4th chapter I told myself this book is weird and strange but it's also interesting, too interesting to stop reading. After about the 10th chapter I realized I liked this book! After I finished this book I realized MAGIC IS REAL. Thank you Charlie Watson.
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