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Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier

I am such a library geek: Do you know what made me read this series? Not the fact that it's fantasy, not the fact that the author is married to one of my other favorite authors, but this:

"Apparently, calling my first novel, Magic or Madness was a big fat mistake. It’s the “or” that’s the problem, with certain searches it brings up lots of results that get in between you and finding my book. That can’t be good. And of course no one can spell my surname . . . " (From the author's blog)

There are certain authors whose books automatically jump to the top of my "to be read" pile, and Justine Larbalestier is definitely one of them.

Am I a horrible person if I tell you absolutely nothing about the plot? The thing is -- I really can't tell you anything about the plot of the third book without spoiling the first two completely and you absolutely must read those first (Though there may end up beings spoilers in the comments).

However, the general premise of the MorM world is this: Like all fantasy novels, some people are born with magical abilities. But there's a twist, they only have so much magic, and when they use it up, they die. There's an alternative, but it's not much better: if they don't use their magic, they'll go insane. (Thus the title). Reason, our 15-year-old heroine, has lived her whole life with her mother, who chose the second option. But when her mother tries to kill herself and is therefore institutionalized, Reason is sent to live with her grandmother, who at 45, is nearing the end of her magical life. The magical abilities are also not what one expects -- Reason has an amazing aptitude for math and patterns. Her friend Tom can create magical clothing, and Jay-Tee's magic is in movement -- like running and dancing. (None of this, ooh-look-at-me-I can-fly-or-read-minds... etc.)

Magic or Madness is hands-down one of the most original fantasy trilogies I've read in a very long time. I'll admit, I've gotten a little tired of the whole, hero-finds-out-that-he-has-magical-powers-and-must-go-on-a-very-long-quest-to-save-the-world type novels, so this series is a breath of fresh air.

If you haven't read this trilogy yet, run (do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200) to your nearest library and read it now.

And definitely check out the author's website and blog for all kinds of interesting things, like the very first draft of the first chapter of Magic or Madness, and this adorable story of her romance with her husband, Scott Westerfeld


Jackie said...

I really do need to get around to these someday...

Little Willow said...

It has MATH! FIBS!

(As does Midnighters by Mister Scott Westerfeld. Smart family, theirs.)

I love math. I live with math. I do math constantly.

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