Paperback Treasures Team
The Book of Magic - Alice Hoffman
The Book of Magic is the stunning final installment in the Owen's Family Saga. Has the curse that has plagued the family for centuries finally met its match? When the curse threatens the youngest Owen's in a way they never imagined, three generations bind together to use everything they have and trek across the globe to where it all began in the hopes of bringing an end to the love consuming curse.
We would like to thank Edelweiss, Netgalley, Alice Hoffman, and Simon Schuster for advanced copies of this book for us to review.
For Book of Magic, we are doing something a little bit differently! Both of us were honored to receive ARCs of the book, so we will both be sharing our thoughts on the book.
I remember reading Practical Magic. It's been a very long time, but I remember the relationships and the magic and mystery. I remember the loss Sally felt when her husband died and the hope/dread when she felt the first stirrings of something for Gary. The Book of Magic brings all of those feelings back, even if it has been years since you experienced them. It makes you feel like you are an Owen's yourself. Brought back into the warm embrace of your loving family.
"Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library."
I would like to say that I experience the warm and fuzzies throughout the entire book and there were many parts that did that, but also many that fell short. My emotions were hijacked and not my own for the very beginning and ending of the book, but the middle was a bit... fluffy. There were many details that weren't really necessary for the story or world building, that I wound up skimming over to hurry along to the good bits. I am sure that some out there will appreciate those fluffy bits and the way they make the scenery and people stand out just a little bit more, they just didn't add anything for me.
I read this book as a stand alone - as it had been YEARS since reading Practical Magic, and I would recommend it as a stand alone or part of the series. I would recommend this book to any fans of family saga's or those who enjoy tales of magic. I want to add a disclaimer that this book touches on scenes of suicide. I would not recommend it if this may be triggering for you.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars for this magically emotional read
I have to admit something that I don't know if I have ever said aloud - I don't think Practical Magic is the greatest book. Now, I admit, some of that is because I saw the movie first (at probably an entirely inappropriate age while we are at it). I really enjoyed the film and did not actually read the book until my mid twenties. The book is good, but it only captured me in some moments and felt too different from my nostalgic rememberings of the movie for me to fully enjoy. Nostalgia, like hype, can really ruin a good story.
Nonetheless, I eventually picked up the prequel, Rules of Magic, after having my daughter in the midst of some late nights feeding sessions. Released 20 years after Practical Magic and I truly fell in love with the entire Owens family. Hoffman's writing felt deeper and more connected with the story. The book felt as though it was just connected enough to Practical Magic but different enough that it could stand on its own.
5 years later in 2020, Magic Lessons, was released. I don't think that I am alone in saying that fantasy and magical realism was a real life saver in the midst of the challenge of 2020. I was so excited to read the book and I remember that I was in the midst of writing my thesis when it was released. I went to the beach to work by myself for 2 nights and my reward at the end of the day was being able to step into Hoffman's magical world. The story felt so perfectly woven.
Needless to say, when I saw that a final book was coming out, I was quite determined to get my hands on it. Thanks to the ever so kind people at NetGalley, I was able to read it early. As an ending book, it definitely achieved what it set out to do - finish the series. However, it was shaky at time as Chrissy described. The first section of the book truly does feel like coming home. The magic of Hoffman's writing is truly melting off the page. Then, it goes a little wobbly in its storytelling. It was just too long without enough substance to keep me fully engaged through the middle of the book. I think some of it was we had so many characters and most of them lacked some warmth. The relationships just felt a little contrived at points. By the end, though, I was back on board with it. The ending genuinely made me smile, even if it was a bit predictable, and I felt like all of the books were brought together nicely.
One of the things that I really enjoyed with Hoffman's writing on all four of these books is that they all could be read as a stand alone book. She drops enough detail from the other books that serve as reminders to those who have them all, but also would just be interesting tidbits if you only knew about or read the single book. That takes a lot of nimble writing. If you haven't read any of the series, but would like to then I would recommend reading them in chronological order instead of published order because they jump back and forth strangely in the published order. You can learn more about the reading order by visiting Alice Hoffman's website.
Hoffman is always an author that I enjoy seeing what she comes up with next. She often deftly handles magical realism and when her writing is good, it's really good.
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