24 January 2013

Ordinary Magic: A Book Review

Like I've said in the past: I'm a sucker for a beautiful book cover. So when I came across this baby in Barnes & Noble--

I shouted "COLOR!" in my head and promptly plucked it from the shelf to read a couple chapters.

I was hooked.

Ordinary Magic, extraordinarily dreamed up and written by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, introduces readers to a world where magic is the norm-- everyone has it, uses it, lives with it. Except "Ords."  Ords  are, for those of us who are Harry Potter fans, Squibs: non-magical people born from magic folk.  However, unlike in the world of J.K. Rowling, ords become "its," less than human, looked at by people as expendable, the shame of one's family, nameless things to be bought and sold into servitude (even though King Steve made ord slavery illegal) or simply forgotten.

However, having no magic also means that ords are IMMUNE to magic, making them valuable to "adventurers"-- men and women in search of treasures or relics or monsters to kill. Ords can bypass magical traps, spells, whatever, but are unable to benefit from magical healing and being saved if they fall off a cliff. Bummer.

On page one we meet Abby Hale, the youngest of five children born to a magical baker (or bake-ess, if you will) and flying carpet maker (that's how they travel-- awesome!). Abby is on her way to the Judging, a ceremony for 12 year olds to have their magic level evaluated for school.... I think you see where this is going.

Abby, it turns out, is completely devoid of any magic and one hundred percent "ordinary." At this point, society expects Abby's family to cast her out, sell her to the local Guild, or auction her to traveling adventurers. Instead, the Hales are a loving, tight-knit family who will do everything in their power to protect their daughter. Fortunately, Abby's eldest sister, Alexa-- a bada** witch-- runs a private school for ords in the city of Rothermere, where she can be educated on self-defense, survival, history, math, literature, and how to wash dishes. She meets friends along the way, runs into a couple sketchy adventurers, and has to learn a new way of life.

Ordinary Magic has a well-paced story with dimensional characters and heart-warming relationships, creating a world to which I'm excited to return.  It's for anyone who loves fantasy, YA novels, a great story, and especially Harry Potter fans who are always on the hunt for another book to read after finishing that series. While the story centers around these ordinary children, the magical world is charming and open for even further development in future books.

I absolutely loved this book! Abby is a wonderful, witty girl with spunk, honesty, and a big heart; she's not perfect though: I found myself appropriately frustrated at her naivety and handling of certain situations.... but she's 12! Not only do I love and relate to Abby, but I also connected to the community surrounding our main character. The teachers, especially Becky, have mysterious backstories I'm still waiting to discover, and I'm interested to see how her friends Fran, Peter, and Fred develop.  Oh and I love King Steve. He's just awesome.

Rich themes and an engaging story and characters left me wanting more, more, MORE! I was sad to leave Abby's world, wanting so much to continue my ordinary journey.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Eye of Newts
A big "thank you" to Goodreads for the picture.


  1. I really liked the Harry Potter series, and all the magic involved, this book sounds like something I would enjoy. Plus the original concept (Ords immune to magic) sounds cool.

    1. Absolutely! Pick up a copy and let me know what you think (before the baby is born and your reading time turns into baby time) :) :)