Book Review: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

Pub Date: August 15, 2013
Rating: 4/5

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

Have you ever stumbled across a book that is so different than what you thought it would be that it’s hard to get into it? I picked  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic from my TBR pile expecting a story about witches. Seems a reasonable assumption, no?

What I got instead was a fast-paced ride to another dimension where fey, wizards and magic folk of all sorts live. The world itself is a bit like Tolkein’s Middle Earth but without the languages and poetry.

Severus Snape

I also feel the need to address the main wizard in the book, Aruendiel. Reading him, he was exactly like Professor Severus Snape to the point of making me wonder if the book had originally been fanfiction (a la The Mortal Instruments and Fifty Shades of Grey). What’s interesting is that the author addresses this similarity. When someone sees Aruendiel for the first time she immediately gasps, “Snape!” I’m not sure how I feel about incorporating characters from other series into a separate book, especially when the inspiration is so obvious. Is this plagiarism? An infringement on intellectual property? Or is it just good fun? The jury’s still out but if you’re looking for more books that feel like other books check out my review of Song of Achilles.

Tolkein Books

Overall, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic as a fun, fast-paced read. The book is closer to Tolkein than it is to A Discovery of Witches so be aware if epic journeys and alternate dimensions aren’t your thing.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

  1. Enjoyed your review! I guess Aruendiel does look a bit like Snape, but he didn’t come across as quite as cold or, well, mean to me. Of course, we see Snape essentially through Harry’s eyes, and Snape hates that Harry is James’s son, and is reminded of James every time he sees Harry, so he treats Harry very coldly and disdainfully, and we rarely see his good side. We see Aruendiel through Nora’s eyes, and while she is sometimes angry at him, and think’s he’s arrogant, she also sees more of his kinder side. (Plus, there’s a hint of attraction there as well.)

    I’m definitely looking forward to a sequel, and hope it’s in the works!

    • I see your point! I suppose I see Snape much more through the eyes of fanfiction and I saw that as the trope with which she was working. In so many fanfics Snape and Hermione have a relationship very similar to Arundiel and Nora’s!

      I’m excited about the sequel as well. That’s the bad thing about reading ARCs — you have to wait forever for the next book!

      • Agreed on the ARCs thing! I love them for the most part, but the wait time is definitely a drawback.

        I haven’t read any HP fanfic (other than one long piece my daughter wrote, which was very good), so I completely missed that similarity. I wonder if the author was aware of it, or if it’s coincidental? (BTW, I have nothing against fanfic in principle; I just can’t keep up with everything I want to read as it is!)

  2. Pingback: Focus On: Witchy Reads | The Library of Alexandra

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