The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic // A Fantastic Read Which Is Flawed But I Don’t Care

25 October 2016

Published: 31st July 2014
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy, Romance (although, minor, hardly worth a label)
My Rating:
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic is a sparkling romantic adventure.

When Nora Fischer stumbles, quite literally, into a magical world where everyone is glamorous and life is one long party, she's immediately captivated.

What she doesn't realise, because everything is such fun, is that there's a darker side to her new friends. In fact, it's only after she agrees to marry the charismatic, masterful Raclin that she discovers she's a prisoner in this new world.

If Nora is to escape, then she has just one hope: the magician Aruendiel. And if she can also persuade him to teach her the art of real magic, then she might just be able to return home.
Is that what she wants, though? Aruendiel has a biting tongue, a shrouded past and no patience, so there's no way Nora could be falling for him... Is there?

A dark fantasy fairy tale ideal for fans of Twilight, The Time Traveller's Wife and Stardust, The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic is the magical adventure of the year.

A graduate of Harvard University, Emily Croy Barker has been a magazine journalist for more than 20 years. She is currently executive editor at The American Lawyer magazine. The Thinking Woman's Real Guide to Magic is her first novel.
This book! I wasn't certain I even wanted to read it at first. I was daunted by the number of pages and I was concerned I didn’t like the characters. It was one of those books where you’re excited by it because you finally have a book which has been sat on your TBR shelf for about three years but you have no idea of what to expect from it as you have seen no reviews for it. It’s always a strange feeling going into a book you’ve not heard about on the blogosphere, or been recommended. It was nice and I wish I read more books without having prior knowledge of it.

Let’s Begin With The Concerns

As I said, I was daunted by the size of the book when I got it from the library. It was over 500 pages long and when I first began reading I was indifferent to Nora and her issues and I was say waiting for the story to fully develop. The story began very slowly and it took a lot of pages to develop. I can imagine that would be off-putting to many. And then the character of Nora takes a while to warm up, she’s a bit pathetic to begin with but I enjoy some good character growth. As for some of the other characters, they take a while to develop fully formed personalities too, but that is more Nora taking a long while to warm up to anyone.

Slow Pacing And Character Growth Is Hardly A Flaw

Look, the slow pacing and character’s beginning less than appealing is hardly a flaw. They are really my largest complaints. Honestly, once this book got going I was hooked. It was annoying that it took at least 100 pages for the story to get interesting and for Nora to become less than annoying but honestly I adored it once it did. Nora became likable and interesting. Her growth from wet blanket to awesome female character in a world which is on par with like Victorian times or something, probably earlier.

The book was well-written and well thought out and even the bad parts were intelligent. They were there to develop the book and it was so intelligent.

I loved the characters. I fell completely in love with them and never wanted to let go. I loved how Nora appeared so other in this new world simply because she was smart and independent and I adored Aruendiel and his intelligence and his entire attitude. I loved that he didn't care what others thought but cared so much about propriety at a ridiculous moment. I just loved the characters, even though I struggled to spell half their names and have no clue how to pronounce them.

In The End It Was Love

The book had some pacing issues and, sure, Nora was annoying as hell at first but this book was fantastic. It was well written and gripping once it got going. My biggest complaint was that it ended. I didn’t realise it was part of a series until it finished with that open ending and unanswered questions so I did some Googling and turns outs a series is planned with no release date or book title in sight. I was willing to commit to that in the end because that is how much I enjoyed the book. I want to thrust it into the hands of everyone I know and yet I still have that hesitant protective feeling you get about books you love.

Isn’t it the worst reading a book and then realising it’s a series when you’ve still got lots of unanswered questions? And what was the last book you went into with no preconceptions and no blogosphere input driving you to read?
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