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Title: Fractured Magic
Author: Emily Bybee
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy, YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Wild Rose Press Inc.
As the world’s worst witch, Maddie is mistreated by her own kind. She was born a Defect. Most of her spells blow up in her face, literally. While witches search for the long-lost power of the earth, Maddie spends her time in the science lab. There, she discovers a clue to the lost power. The only other witness is Jax, a smokin’ hot college bad-boy, who Maddie can’t decide if she wants to kiss or kill.
When she fails her magic final, the council orders her magic stripped. Maddie’s only chance to keep her brain intact is to find the power with the hope that it can fix her. Jax is her one true ally on the journey. The two of them must use their smarts to stay ahead of the witches while they follow a two-hundred-year-old trail to the power of the earth and the truth behind Maddie’s defect.
About the Author
Emily grew up loving to read and escape into stories. She began writing her own at the age of twelve. In college she focused on science and graduated with a degree in Environmental Biology. After college she began writing again but quickly realized she had failed to take a single writing or grammar class. Luckily, she’s a quick learner. Emily now lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband, three amazing children, and way too many animals. She still enjoys making up stories and can’t seem to leave out the paranormal elements because they are just too much fun.
Blog Tour Organized by:
The Review: 4 out of 5 stars
Fractured Magic is the first book of the Unstable Magic series by Emily Bybee. I signed up for the Fatal Magic book tour with YA Bound Books and since it was the sequel to Fractured Magic, I got PDF copies of both books to read. Yeay! No this is not a paid review, but the author (or her publisher) paid for the book tour. It’s a good thing I signed up for the tour too, because I never would have read this book on my own, I’d never even heard of Emily Bybee before receiving this little gem.
Fractured Magic is a fun, kind of campy, YA Contemporary Fantasy with some definite Magical Realism tendencies. A member of a secret witch family, who are part of a hidden-in-plain-sight-a-la-Harry-Potter-esque witch society, has broken magic. The current witch council has been deliberately doing away with all witches with broken magic because the are “dangerous” and might jeopardize the secrecy of witch society. She thinks that if she can bring back witches ability to tap into the Power of the Earth, then her magic will work correctly again as all modern day witches have been led to believe that defective witches didn’t exist prior to the loss of the Power of the Earth when most of the previous witch council was executed during the French Revolution. The book takes you on modern day quest to solve a “historical” mystery.
Maddie is the main character of course and her “defective magic” is the primary motivator for the plot of the book. Trying to keep herself alive after failing her magic test is what sparks the journey which this story is about. However, her magic is extremely powerful, like all “defectives” which may be why the council hunts them. Or maybe they aren’t defective at all and the council is lying about everything going all the way back to when they killed off the old council and took over?
I loved this story. Yeah. If I thought about it too hard, I might have seen where it was going. But tamped down hard my on editorial instincts and just plowed on through one of the funnest reads I’ve had in a while. My favorite thing about this story was the mystery. As Maddie gradually uncovers bits of forgotten (or deliberately hidden) clues, the reader gets to come along on this journey of discovery which shows Maddie that everything which she thought about herself and her people was wrong. It’s always a pleasure to see history being used in fiction and I think the author did a great job without going into too much detail.
My favorite thing about the main character was that she rates surprisingly low on the teen-angst scale. Which is good. I try to steer clear of the YA Novels which are excessively angsty. For one thing, Maddie is completely preoccupied with learning how to control her magic at the beginning of the book, and later by how to save herself and her friends. More importantly, she is smart, and focuses on using and developing those smarts instead of normal teenage things. Though her relationship with her mother is contentious.
Towards the end of the book Maddie does become obsessed with the guy she likes. His life is in mortal danger and becomes her primary motivational factor, while she doesn’t even seem to care what happens to herself. This upsets me. She’s only known this young man a few days as she’s willing to sacrifice everything on the hope that the witch council will let him live now that he knows their big witchy secret. It feels untrue to the character especially as it comes so suddenly in the plot.
There are two guys contending for Maddie’s affections in this story. One is the college science major who is helping her research how to unlock the Power of the Earth. She thinks he hot and likes him back. The other, is her betrothed (witches practice arranged marriages). I think some of the conflict between the two of them is a little forced at first since Maddie seems to not like one more than the other. But later becomes justified when she makes her choice. The way the book is written I almost feel like the college guy wouldn’t have even considered Maddie as a potential romantic partner if he hadn’t been in a self-assigned contest of testosterone with her betrothed.
Neither of the romantic interests are developed much as characters other than to be opposing sides of the same hot coin. One has dark hair and is brooding, the other is blonde and carefree seeming. Both have mommy issues which maybe make them latch on to the first female in their lives around their own ages who they have to have a sort of equal partnership/cooperation with. It would have been nice to see more of that developing behind the scenes over the course of he book as oppose to a brief bits at the start and the end where each guy’s backstory was sort of just thrown out there to explain their actions relative to the plot.
In the end, I Give the book a 4 out of 5 stars and a 2.5 out of three on the Delighting Delilah scale. The things I disliked about the book were far outweighed by the fast paced and intriguing narrative. If I had been a romance fan and expected more inter-character emotional development, I might have judged it differently. However, I think the way it was presented was alright for a fantasy book. Fractured Magic a quick read (can be finished in one day) in a fascinating new magical universe and I couldn’t wait to read the sequel Fatal Magic.
Blog Tour Schedule
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