Book Review: Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Published May 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Length: 288 pages; hardcover
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Age 8 & Up
ISBN 1599907259 (ISBN 13: 9781599907253)
Goodreads | Amazon

Everyone in Abigail Hale’s world has magic. When children are Judged they find out what level of magic user they are. A child’s Judgment is a rite of passage. Or it should be. But Abby’s Judging reveals that she doesn’t have any magic at all. She’s ordinary, an ord. She will never be able to do magic. Now Abby’s life is turned upside down and she’s enrolled in a special school that prepares young ords to deal with life with their unmagical handicap. But there are hungry goblin lurking in the shadows, unscrupulous adventurers determined to have an ord in their service, and surprise meetings with the King to deal with and Abby’s life will be anything but ordinary.

After reading a string of great YA novels, reading a middle grade book is like running into a very forgiving wall. The mind needs to switch tracks. I’ve had my eye on Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway for some time now. First of all, huge kudos to Rubino-Bradway for the idea. Most fantasy stories have magic users being the extraordinary ones but in a world where magic is normal, the few people who can’t use magic at all are the amazing ones. Great twist on the fantasy cliché. I adored the characters in this book, everyone from Abby’s crazy family to the teachers at the school. I hope we get more on Becky. I hope Becky gets her own book, she’s that great. The only thing that annoyed me was the generalization that Abby’s family was the only family in the whole book that seemed to still love their child after discovering they were an ord. Can you really tell me that nobody else in whole school had parents that didn’t abandon them after finding out they were ords? It would have been interesting to see what must have been the vast and varied reactions of the different families, even a little bit. But, I understand the limitation of a book and shall set my irritation aside.

The plot was very loose, in my opinion. The red cap thing sort of happened and then the adventurer thing sort of happened, and then by the end it all exploded and everything is happening. The middle feels a bit wandering. I found myself speculating on little details. King Steve and Alexa are obviously together and I can’t wait for that can of worms to happen. (I’d also bet money that King Steve is an ord.) I want to know who this Margaret Green is that the ord school is named after. There are so many little things going on, little tidbits sprinkled through the book that I found myself sorry they weren’t more explored. Ordinary Magic has so many interesting secondary characters that I sincerely hope for a sequel or perhaps for off-shoot novels.

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is an entertaining read. It’s not mind blowing but well worth the time. It’s an interesting take on the old fantasy cliché. The characters are amusing. (Gil is my favorite of Abby’s family!) A few things could have had more depth. (Like why Trixie acted like she did, which was so different from Barbarian Mike’s attitude.) There has to be a sequel, just by mere fact that we still have kids missing. There must be a grand quest in search of Fran. I won’t accept anything less than a dozen more fantasy clichés turned on their heads!


About Patricia @ Lady with Books

I'm a 34 year old female. Brown hair. Blue eyes. I spend a great deal of my time surfing the internet and blogging. I enjoy cooking. I make a mean sautéed vegetable dish. I write. I read.

Posted on August 28, 2012, in book review, books, fantasy, fiction and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I don’t really know if I should read this book.I will put it on reserved list thought. 🙂

    • Patricia @ Lady with Books

      It’s a good book. It’s just a bit wandering in the middle in my opinion. Don’t let that stop you from reading it though. Ordinary Magic was still entertaining and worth the read.

  2. melissaseclecticbookshelf

    I’ve had my eye on this one as well…sounds like a fun read!

    • Patricia @ Lady with Books

      It was fun, especially with the unique take on the magic user angle. It’s sometimes hard for me to read middle grade books because children often annoy the crud out of me and it’s a feat to create young characters that I like but Ordinary Magic was good.

  3. I so loved this book! I saw in Abby every kid who had been shoved to the side or the last one picked for the team. I loved the personality in the writing – so many books in adult genres as well as YA and MG just have no “voice”. Hope there is a 2nd.

  4. I quite enjoyed it, however King Steve is not an Ord. All through the book there a references to his magic, e.g. the part when King Steve takes Abby into the dungeons to visit Barbarian Mike, his eyes glow like cats’ eyes as he casts a “see-in-the-dark” spell. Ords can neither work magic, nor does it work on them.
    Apparently it’s supposed to be part one of a series, however it’ll be three years since publishing March next year. Rubino-Bradway has moved on to writing other books but I hope she gets it done soon. I want to see the wedding. I reckon the if King Steve and Alexa aren’t already engaged (secretly), then they will be by the next book. He strikes me as a very independent king who doesn’t much care what anyone else thinks of him if what he’s doing is right, fair, and just. Or if it doesn’t matter either way. Alexa would make a great Queen.

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