Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Source: NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

My Thoughts:

So earlier this week I said I didn't like this book, that I was disappointed in it. Which is true, and I will go into that further in a moment. First, let me say that  I was stupid excited over this book. I love Hoffman's work, I love Practical Magic, I love stories about witches - so the stars were aligned for me to love this book.

This book was beautifully written. The descriptions were rich and wonderful, magical even. I loved the characters, their evolutions, their backstory, if you read Practical Magic. I love Vincent. How could you not love a character so charming he was stolen  for a few hours by his nurse at birth? He was the anti-hero and the hero all in one. The imagery, the sprinkling of folklore and superstition and herbal magics, I loved all of it. I loved the little surprise of Vincent's. However, I didn't love this book. It was just too sad for me. I felt like there was such little joy in this book, in their lives in general. I understand it was the curse surrounding them, but I guess it was too much for me. I don't need a story to be all sunshine and rainbows, but I guess I do need some happiness. And there were small pockets of happy tucked in here, but overall, it made me depressed. It was a very slow going read for me as well - over three weeks which is crazy for me. I kept getting distracted by other reads, then I realized the truth - I didn't want to go back to this book. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it when I read it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Overall, I would say this book is beautifully written and crafted, as all of Hoffman's books are, it was just a little too gray and sad for me.


  1. Wow. I wouldn't expect there to be no joy in a book full of magic. That's a bummer.

    1. It felt so sad to me! I looked at other reviews and it seems I am in the minority. Lol.

  2. Sorry this was a bummer for you. I would be bugged by that factor also.


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