Monday, December 8, 2014

The Thinking Woman's Guide To Real Magic

The Thinking Woman's Guide To Magic
Emily Croy Barker

Also known as: where has this book been all my life? 

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

“It was one thing to read about a society obsessed with female purity—quite another to find yourself living in one.”

This book was epic, it was fantastic. It was impossible to put down. And it kept me up many nights until I was too tired to continue. It was smart and funny and I loved it. It was an epic fantasy.
There are so many reasons I loved this book. Nora was a great protagonist, she may not have been smart in regards to her love life, but it every other way she was savvy and very intelligent and honestly it made this book great.

Nora is smart, independent, savvy, and able, as a protagonist. She's a strong, human protagonist. Awhile ago on Tumblr there was this post going around about writing strong-female protagonists. In this little rant/post about strong females the writer said not to worry about writing strong-kick-ass female protagonists and instead write about interesting, complex, human female protagonists. Now while personally I believe that writing strong women and writing complex women are not necessarily seprate and excursive only to that, Nora embodies both ideals.
She is a strong protagonist in the unconventional way that she is herself--she is complex and human, she really effs up a couple times. So that is what I mean when I say she is human.

So this story begins in present day earth. We find out that Nora's has had a rough couple of months and things take a turn for the worse as she finds out her boyfriend, another professor, intends to marry another woman. Meaning he had been cheating on her while they were together. Nora is a professor at the local university, she's very intelligent but she's hit a dull spot in her life. Her life is far from perfect at home and it is far from what she imagined it would be. But, her life isn't exactly bad, but it isn't exactly outstandingly great.

On a weekend trip up to the mountains Nora stumbles into an alternate universe while going for a walk. She doesn't realize this at first, in fact, it takes a long time for her to realize that this new world is far from what she thinks it is.

But she is introduced to a fabulous new world that is vivid, imaginative, and becomes more startlingly real as the book progresses. And when she meets Illisa, she is enchanted.

Illisa is beautiful, perfect and graceful. And she takes Nora under her wing and introduces her to Raclin and this amazing new world that's full of glitz and glamour.

It is of course too good to be true.
Eventually the nightmarish truth about this new world is revealed. The further Nora is submerged in this world, the further it becomes clear that Illisa and Raclin are not who they appear to be. And then the real story begins. Nora is saved by Aurendiel after she finds out the truth about everything.

And then, she learns about magic.

Honestly, this book was fantastic. It was full of adventure, and though the beginning started off slow, it didn't last long and quickly captured my attention. As a protagonist I loved Nora. Even after all the horrid things she had been through, when she's finally safe in Aurendiel's manor, she is finally able to be herself again. Her curiosity returns and she begins to learn more about this new, fantastic world.

This is a great book that will make a great Christmas present.

Give it to anyone who likes fantasy, or adventure with a side of romance. And despite the tittle I believe this book would make a great gift for men who enjoy fantasy too because honestly the writing and the world building are fantastic.

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