ARC Review: The Magician’s Dream by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

I feel like I should be doing a monthly update just so I can keep track of what I’ve been trying to do lately. Since the schoolyear’s begun, I’ve been trying to find a proper time to sit down and read and update (but more on this later).

For now, onto the review!


By Shawn Thomas Odyssey
Egmont USA, June 2015
Children’s fantasy
Provided by NetGalley


Pseudonymous Bosch crosses with Angie Sage in a middle-grade novel that mixes mystery and fantasy as our intrepid heroine investigates the theft of a ruby necklace that bestows upon its wearer untold powers.

A break-in at the museum, mysterious visitors to the grand new library, and a cute guy that Oona is just beginning to notice provide obstacles, distraction, and aid as Oona navigates her way among the politics of her wizard neighbors to discover who is to blame in the latest Oona Crate mystery.

This book is apparently the third of the Oona Crate Mystery novels, though I don’t actually believe one needed to pick the previous novels up to understand what’s happening in book 3. Perhaps reading the first two books might have shed some light on certain characters, but I didn’t really mind beginning where I did, so I just treated the book as a standalone.

What I Loved

Oona. She’s a firecracker of a girl, and clearly talented for her age. Of the characters, she was definitely the most fleshed out and it was easy to like her. I think her insistence on female empowerment was what grabbed me as most appealing about her. Oh, and her magnifying glass wand.

The setting. I’m always up for a Victorian era story, and I loved the election events happening in the background. Molly Moon Morgana for the win!

Love/Hate Relationships

The other characters. The rest of the cast were kind of forgettable, and when I was finally getting to know a few of them rather well, they disappear from the story only to reappear at the end.

The magic system. The concept of the glass gates was pretty cool, but the magic wasn’t particularly interesting for me. It was described as Harry Potter-ish, but the wand/spellwork combination didn’t grip me the way magic at Hogwarts managed to do.

What I Didn’t Love

The pacing. The story was slow-going. While I normally don’t mind certain fantasies their propensity to get overly detailed and long-winded, I think children’s stories should really get on with the show. It took Oona too long to get to the heart of the problem, and while I trudged onward, it became very difficult for me to see the point of it all.

The formatting. Understandably the book is still in its draft stages, since it’s to be published in June of 2015. That said, it was hard to move to certain scenes when there was absolutely no breaks between chapters or scenes. It went from one scene straight to another with no indication of the previous scene ending. I don’t know if the formatting of chapters got lost when transferring to ebook, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t bother me, because it did.

Overall, it was kind of a cute story, and the cover is nice and colorful. While I did like Oona, I’m not sure I really want to read any more of the series.

3 out of 5 Goodreads stars!

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