Sunday, September 23, 2007

Magic or Madness

Young Adult novels are so much better now than I remember them being when I was an actual young adult. I recall reading some S.E. Hinton, but not much else.

The "Magic or Madness" series by Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons, and Magic's Child) is one of the best fantasy trilogies I've read; YA or not. All of the books are well-paced, exciting, and feature well-drawn, believable characters.

The story focuses on 15-year-old Reason Cansino who discovers very suddenly that magic is real. More than that, she is a magic user. In the word of the books, however, magic is a double-edged sword. Use it and it will shorten your life; but if you don't use it, you'll quickly go mad. For the most part, we watch as reason figures out how to use her magic, and how she avoids other magic users who would steal her magic so they could lengthen their own lives.

Besides Reason, there's a whole host of supporting characters, some who wield magic, some who don't, but all who lend their support in making this an exciting story.

I would pay heed to the Young Adult label and would share this with kids who are at least in their teens, as there are some plot elements that might raise uncomfortable questions from a younger reader. But once your kids (or you) have finished the Harry Potter series, this is a great series to pick up next.

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