It was quite clear from page one that this book was somewhere on the spectrum of YA/Middle Grade… probably more on the upper middle-grade side of things, in my opinion, and it drew fond memories of the kind of books I read at a younger age. Right away in the first chapter we meet the protagonist, Layauna, and discover the difficulties that she deals with (including expectations, parents, and little brothers.) The family dynamic and imagination of it all reminds me, in fact, of one of my favorite classics for this age group, A Wrinkle in Time (though this book is more perhaps more magical than Madeleine L’Engle’s brand of adventure,) and The Magician’s Workshop has that same kind of staying wonder as L’Engle, making it a keen read for any age.
I read it during a fundraising/work weekend that frequently called my attention to other things for short whiles. I kept thinking of the story, however, after I’d put it down. I don’t have many criticisms of the book; I was surprised, though, that the nature of magic was quite unlike the expected norms and had more psychological ramifications than real-world implications. In O’Ceea, magic impacts the mind, rather than reality. Of course, films like Total Recall and The Matrix inform us that the mind’s power over reality can still have intense (and lethal) implication… but it took me a few pages to wrap my head around the nuanced change.
This might just be one of the best books I’ve reviewed in 2017. You’d be missing out if you didn’t pick up a copy. Get yours here!
I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.