The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
Pub Date: August 15, 2013
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.
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.
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.