11
Apr
07

Justine Larbalestier: Magic or Madness

“My Mother Named Me Reason.”

Reason Cansino has lived fifteen years in the Australian outback with her mother: Sarafina. They’re on the run from Reason’s grandmother Esmeralda, who believes in magic and practices horrifying dark rituals. But when Sarafina suffers a mental breakdown, Reason is sent to the one place she fears most–Esmeralda’s home in Sydney.

Nothing about the house or Esmeralda is what Reason expected. Then, when she walks through Esmeralda’s back door in Sydney and finds herself on a New York City street, Reason is forced to face the shocking truth. Magic is real. And Reason is magic.

Magic or Madness doesn’t live up to the visceral impact of the blurb’s first line, unfortunately, but it is a pretty good debut novel.

I felt that Reason comes off a little younger than her given age of fifteen, though this might be deliberate on the author‘s part. Growing up glued to your mother’s side can’t be too good for your maturity.

I don’t usually like it when authors switch between third and first POVs, but the author carries it off quite well.

I like the worldbuilding–I’ll give you a clue: see title. In this, however, I’m admittedly biased because it fits the way I think so well.

I will be picking up the next book.

This rates 3 out of 5.

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3 Responses to “Justine Larbalestier: Magic or Madness”


  1. April 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    One of the interesting things about book two is seeing through the eyes of the other characters, which really makes it clear how Reason is more savvy than them in some ways, but younger and much less savvy in others.

  2. April 11, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Then I can’t wait even more to read Magic Lessons! Thanks Janni!


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