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
Reading Level: Age 8 & Up
ISBN 1599907259 (ISBN 13: 9781599907253)
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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!