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Magic Street

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  5,566 ratings  ·  393 reviews
Orson Scott Card has the distinction of having swept both the Hugo and Nebula awards in two consecutive years with his amazing novels Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. For a body of work that ranges from science fiction to nonfiction to plays, Card has been recognized as an author who provides vivid, colorful glimpses between the world we know and worlds we can only i ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.24  · 
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 ·  5,566 ratings  ·  393 reviews

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Dec 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This was my first (attempt at) Orson Scott Card, but it had so many incomprehensible "WTF" moments that I had to put it down about halfway through...there's not much logic, it's steeped in randomness, and it uses Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream as a crutch for its plot...the characters (especially Mack) aren't especially engaging, and the way everyone talks is just weird. I'm black, and while I can appreciate Card's attempt at authentic African American speech, it just falls short and soun ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
OSC does NOT write "ethnic" characters as well as Neil Gaiman does. You're better off reading Ananzi's Boys, the sequel to American Gods. Most of the characters are black, and he gets it right. He realizes that black folks such as myself do not just rhapsodize about their blackness all the time. We don't have anything to prove. We just ARE.
Also, I do not think we needed descriptions of the main character taking a poop. Seriously, leave that shit out!
Also, you do NOT stop the story to have the ma
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Orson Scott Card is such a great writer that even his mediocre books are very, very good. This book cannot begin to compare to Card's books about Alvin Maker or Ender Wiggin - partially because this book is a stand-alone story, not the beginning of an epic series.

But as a stand-alone story, Magic Street is an epic. This one story spans a length of years and brings together a cast of characters large enough to feel like an epic. And the evil which must be fought to save the world is unimaginably
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Okay...I've read a few books by Orson Scott Card, and most of them are pretty good. Most of them. Every now and then I guess everyone has a misstep. IN MY OPINION this is one of Card's.

I knew early on I was in trouble as the homeless man of mystery carried off the apparently still born baby and the domestic scenes rolled on setting the scene for our entry into wonder.

We just had trouble getting there.

This was supposed to be inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream. But I just didn't find the expec
Kyle Maas
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-books
Direct Quote from dust jacket: “A novel that uses realism and fantasy to delight, challenge, and satisfy on the most profound levels.” Liars.

This should have been a good book. Written by Orson Scott Card, a tried and true literature giant, combining the world of fairy and Midsummer Night’s Dream with urban realism, and telling the classic story of the outsider who rises up to save everyone, it had so much going for it. And for the first half of the book, it held up to its promise. Watching young
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
I had no idea what to expect from this book. I hadn't read anything about it, but I saw it was from Card and so I listened to it on our way to and from California. I didn't even read the jacket cover since it was an audio book I downloaded. I won't say too much other than I really enjoyed it. I think saying too much other than that would ruin it for anyone.
Fred Warren
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
After reading Ender's Game and The Lost Gate, I was looking forward to reading yet another spectacular novel from Orson Scott Card...and was severely disappointed. The first half of the book is intriguing and just the right amount of disturbing (thoughts of killing the baby in his hands? A woman giving birth after only one hour of pregnancy, and the baby being taken away in a grocery bag?), though a lot of it does seem random. Other aspects are odd as well; namely, the extremely sassy black comm ...more
Dan Jones
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until this book, I was only familiar with Orson Scott Card through his science fiction, and a couple of articles. This is a modern fantasy set in a well-to-do black neighborhood of LA (Baldwin Hills). Some of the main characters, however, are taken directly from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

It's an interesting attempt at a modern fantasy. It does a pretty good job of blending a modern setting with historical, fantastic characters.

It took me a little while to get into the book. In th
May 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
My dad often gives me Orson Scott Card books for Christmas. They're usually a fun read. This one, however, was less enjoyable than others.

Granted, it was a wholehearted attempt on Card's part to write a novel with African American leads at the request of one of his black friends who was complaining about the paucity of black heroes in American fiction.

But it just felt forced. Rather than featuring well-rounded characters in a upper-middle class black community, the people in this book felt like
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh. I'm disappointed in this book. I had a hard time moving past the "white author depicting a black world" facet of this book, and so no matter how authentic Orson Scott Card managed to be (and how would I know?), that kept me from really settling in and enjoying the book. I do appreciate that authors try to explore experiences and viewpoints other than their own - if they didn't, there wouldn't be much fiction, would there? But when it comes to taking on a different race or gender, it is very ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Every once in a while, an author whom you know has talent is bound to fail you. Card was my favorite author as a teen and I devoured nearly all of his (many) works. Chances are, if you are even reading this, you've already read Ender's Game and/or others of the Ender series. Stick with them.

A lot of press has been devoted to saying how brave, insightful, or groundbreaking Card was to use a black character as his main protagonist. Unfortunately, this statement seems to say a lot more about our cu
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first 50 pages of this book are so awesome, that when the rest of the book didn't live up to it, I wanted to cry.

-Awesome, diverse, and differentiated African-American characters.
-Super descriptions of Baldwin Hills and L.A. in general.
-Cuh-ray-zee cool mash-up of contemporary L.A. with Fairyland.
-Lots of awesome poetry and Shakespeare references.
-Interesting handling of religion, very unique for a fantasy book.

-Too many characters eventually appear for them each to really get th
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Orson Scott Card is a good writer, as one can tell from his "Ender's Game" and his advice on writing. But there are times when even an expert can do ... not so well. It has happened to better authors before and it's never a pretty sight. Modern fantasy is a genre that has a niche group of writers, (I see the Gaiman fans standing up...) and I can imagine Card doing much better in future books. Just not this one. To be fair, this isn't Stephen King's "Eyes Of The Dragon" bad, but it's still not go ...more
Susan Henn
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
1/2013 Card claims this is his favorite of all his books. In an interview he said that he was proud of the system of magic he developed for the story and of its progression in development. I don’t see what he sees in the story. It reminded me of the Greek system in college where Greek gods and stories are combined with Christian symbols and ideas making them all equally void of meaning. Card throws Shakespearean fairies in with God and the beast making a muddled mess. In the afterward he said he ...more
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ok, this was as close to taking drugs as I have ever come to. Yeah . . . it was psychodelic.

Orson does his magic again by taking you into the lives of several black teenagers in a small cultisac that has some interesting secrets.

Have you ever run into the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth, she tries to tempt you, but you somehow unbelieveably have the power to resist her temptation. This is what happens to the main character in this book and he not only resists her, but slowly peel
Jun 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
"What I learned from this book": Orson Scott Card should stick to science fiction, at which he does a consistently good job, and avoid the tricky genre of modern-day fantasy. This reads like a really, really bad Neil Gaiman wannabe, with inconsistent (not intentionally conflicted, just sloppily developed, IMHO) characters and a plot that tries unsuccessfully to be epic. I am all for myth/fairy tale retellings, but co-opting/subverting the cast of Midsummer Night's Dream and transplanting them to ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Interesting use of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was quite original and clever. However, at times the narrative just did not ring true for me. I also didn't like some of the themes and ideas in the book - it made me feel very uncomfortable.

Personal Note: I am anti-homophobia, and as such I usually refuse to buy books by authors who express homphobic views - whether these are present in the book or not. As such, Orson Scott Card's views were something of a surprise. This did not effect my rating
Mar 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Ummm, no.

I'd given up buying Card books since he's become so free with his bizarre political and religious opinions, but I was rather hard up for a good read one day and grabbed this at the library, hoping, on the basis of the early Ender and Alvin books, that it would be worthwhile. Unfortunately, the story was plodding, the characters were two-dimensional (and frequently nonsensical and contradictory), and his attempts to portray African-American characters and dialogue were just cringe-worth
Jun 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
The afterword is basically a great explanation of why this book gets one star. It's a white privileged Mormon writing about middle class black America. Although e tried hard, and according to his own explanation ran it by his black friends... It sort of has that "imagineered" quality to it. He also explains that the book basically grew out of a bunch of separate random ideas he twisted together. It reads like it.

I generally love card... Horrible personal views aside... But this one was forced an
Amanda Rafuse
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adults, fantasy lovers, anyone who knows Midsummer Night's Dream well.
Shelves: fiction, fantasy-ya
A modern look at Oberon, Puck, Titania through the eyes of a young black man in Los Angeles. I really enjoyed this book. Card's heroes are compelling, smart and heart-strong and this mix of the old world fairies in modern life is a new one, not an old story retold. I am not sure if I should put this in young adult fantasy -- its pretty great to read as a 35 year old -- but the hero is young, strong and likeable, so I hope young adults will read it!
Ben Crowder
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved the premise and the characters. The ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped for, though, and there's quite a bit of language. But if you like urban fantasy and can handle salty tongues, give it a try.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Relyn by: spotted at the library
Shelves: abandoned
As usual Orson Scott Card's characters just suck me right in. I loved the story in the beginning, but just couldn't sustain my interest. Not sure why - but this one didn't do it for me. I usually love magic and urban fairy tales.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I have always found Card to be readable, and listening was good too. I just wish that I could forget Card's biases - I don't think he is a nice man.

The book was good and it was especially helpful to find out why Card set the book where he did.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great read. I love Card's writing style and the characters he created were so likeable and real. The story was a little more "out there" than I expected but I enjoyed it just the same.
JB Lynn
"Magic Street" by Orson Scott Card is an urban fantasy following Mack Street whose existence is as much of a mystery as his birth. This story has been categorized as a fantasy thriller, and I haven't read many of those, but figured I'd give this one a shot. We start off in what feels like a typical African-American neighborhood being set up for a quiet, contemporary story. Don't worry, it's not.

It takes a while for the true nature of what's happening in this book to really come into focus; and I
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can honestly say I've never ready anything quite like Magic Street. I picked it up because I'd recently finished reading Ender's Game and found that I really enjoy Orson Scott Card's gift for rich and believable dialogue, especially between adolescent boys. The setting of this story, in an upper-middle class African American neighborhood in LA, intrigued me, but other than that I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The book starts right off the bat with bazaar magic in a setting
Piper Tallis
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the story concept and most of the characters. (For some reason I just never warmed up to the Professor-maybe something about his car obsession.) My two biggest criticisms were the ending and the unnecessary politicism. Not what happened in the ending per se, just that the lead up and climax battle felt rushed. The resolution felt as if it came too easily without much cost. I read the epilogue, I understand why the author felt it was important to have an African-American protagonist. I ha ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I'm not sure how to rate this books. There were times in the book I did not like it at all, but by the end it all came together for me and I really enjoyed it. That being said, it wouldn't be an easy book for me to recommend.

1 - I found white, Mormon Orson Scott Card writing a cast of black characters to be difficult and uncomfortable. He has an afterword where he explains the premise - a black friend of his challenged him to write a book with the main character being black and offered help in
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
What?! Woah! Whew! Wow!! This 3.5 story caught and held my attention and wouldn't let me go. Mr. Card took me there and back again as Word, Ceese, and Mack made me wish there were more of guys like them walking around to join the ranks of my dad and brother.
My actual reading time was three days, if you add up all the hours over the 4 months from when I started, but life, prepping for a certification exam (yea I passed), writing, and preparing to teach at a local university stole into my reading
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
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“When you have faith in something a lot of other people believe then you a member of the church" said Ceas, "When you have faith in something nobody believes, then you a complete wacko” 7 likes
“Issib wasn't thrilled to see him. I'm busy and don't need interruptions."

"This is the household library," said Nafai. "This is where we always come to do research."

"See? You're interrupting already."

"Look, I didn't say anything, I just came in here, and you started picking at me the second I walked in the door."

"I was hoping you'd walk back out."

"I can't. Mother sent me here." Nafai walked over behind Issib, who was floating comfortably in the air in front of his computer display. It was layered thirty pages deep, but each page had only a few words on it, so he could see almost everything at once. Like a game of solitaire, in which Issib was simply moving fragments from place to place.

The fragments were all words in weird languages. The ones Nafai recognized were very old.

"What language is that?" Nafai asked pointing, to one.

Issib signed. "I'm so glad you're not interrupting me."

"What is it, some ancient form of Vijati?"

"Very good. It's Slucajan, which came from Obilazati, the original form of Vijati. It's dead now."

"I read Vijati, you know."

"I don't."

"Oh, so you're specializing in ancient, obscure languages that nobody speaks anymore, including you?"

"I'm not learning these languages, I'm researching lost words."

"If the whole language is dead, then all the words are lost."

"Words that used to have meanings, but that died out or survived only in idiomatic expressions. Like 'dancing bear.' What's a bear, do you know?"

"I don't know. I always thought it was some kind of graceful bird."

"Wrong. It's an ancient mammal. Known only on Earth, I think, and not brought here. Or it died out soon. It was bigger than a man, very powerful. A predator."

"And it danced?"

"The expression used to mean something absurdly clumsy. Like a dog walking on its hind legs."

"And now it means the opposite. That's weird. How could it change?"

"Because there aren't any bears. THe meaning used to be obvious, because everybody knew a bear and how clumsy it would look, dancing. But when the bears were gone, the meaning could go anywhere. Now we use it for a person who's extremely deft in getting out of an embarrassing social situation. It's the only case that we use the word bear anymore. And you see a lot of people misspelling it, too."

"Great stuff. You doing a linguistics project?"


"What's this for, then?"


"Just collection old idioms?"

"Lost words."

"Like bear? The word isn't lost, Issya. It's the bears that are gone."

"Very good, Nyef. You get full credit for the assignment. Go away now.”
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