Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book review and extras: Random Magic by Sasha Soren

Blog tour: Random Magic and Other Shelf Tours

I'm a few days late posting this review.  I've been sick and all, so it took me FOREVER to finish the book.

I was very excited when I joined the blog tour for Random Magic and couldn't wait to read the book.  However, when I started reading, I thought to myself, "Oh no!"  The beginning of the book is pretty convoluted.  The Prologue about the haunted mansion seems entirely out of place and the scenes with Henry's family, especially Winsley and Tony, are utterly intolerable.  These sections go on and on with gibberish that one can hardly make sense of. 

Once I got in to the meat of the story, it was still a little slow going.  Scenes interjected such as a "soap opera" being filmed featuring characters from Greek mythology are entirely out of place.  The only thing that kept me hanging on through the first half of the book was Winnie Flapjack, the Doodle Witch.  Her wit and cleverness really hold the book together. 

So, just when I thought all was lost on my ever truly enjoying the book, then this passage came to light and it all turned around for me.

"The sea was beautiful, blue, limitless, and blind.  She went by many names, but belonged to no one but herself--and every unwary soul that trespassed the blue depths was hers.  It was a promise forged when time was young.
She slept, dreaming, her fingertips curled against her cheek.  Her great body, they called Ocean, and her long limbs, the sea.  Her hair and fingers streamed out into harbors and rivers, but she lived an exile of her own choosing.
Here, she meted out horror, and there, unexpected succour.  Tiny harbor cities clung to her hair like a veil of pearls, their streets filled with the happy sound of rumbling wagons creaking under the weight of spice chests and bolts of silk, wickerwork baskets brimming with oysters and nets bursting with silver fish.
When she withdrew, plague followed.  The great mass of living things drew breath from the sea, and so they also drew death.
Her arms closed soundlessly around the souls who braved her rage, clinging to them in a deep embrace both tender and terrifying.  She would outlive time itself, swaddling her memories in blue-black shrouds and the salt of her veins.
Every living mortal received both her blessing and her wrath; new souls emerged, squalling, from her depths, washed in memory and mystery.
This is why the homes of men are ever built on her threshold, clinging to their defender and punisher, and why mortal tears always taste of salt.
She was the sea, She would be, until the gods themselves crumbled in ash under a dying sun.  She would have what was hers.  And she would keep her secrets."

Such beautiful writing gave me what I needed to continue on and, indeed, the second half of the book was wonderful.  It is here that the true messages of the book start shining through.  Starting with this quote:

"Everything," she said, bending down to look at him, "everything in life--tells you a story.  If you have ears to hear it."

Messages of love, friendship and perserverance in the face of adversity.  Winnie and Henry never give up in spite of the myriad of obstacles that stand in their way.  Winnie teaches Henry the meaning of self-sacrifice and how to believe in himself.  Henry teaches Winnie that it is okay to show someone how you really feel, but still be strong.

My advice to a reader of Random Magic would be to look deep inside the labyrinthine goings on throughout the book...which is really the point (hence the word "random" in the title)...and search for the real message, as I did.  If you take my advice, you will not be disappointed.

Here are some themes which the author intended to come through in the reading.  I would say she succeeded!

Inside Random Magic: Reader Notes - Book Themes

Some of the themes of the book, apart from the nutty adventures and colorful imagery, would be:

• Magic is everywhere, even in daily life, just have to know where to look.
• Always believe in yourself, even if no one else does.
• Inside every woman, there is a queen
• Brains can be more useful than brawn, in a lot of cases
• Knowledge is power
• Bravery isn’t a lack of fear, but a willingness to try even when you’re afraid
• True beauty is much greater than skin deep
• Loyalty, friendship and love are more valuable than gold
• Magic is: Magic. But it’s also: The power to create art, music, and beauty.
• There is spiritual beauty in physical objects, sometimes
• Humans are mortal, but the things they create are immortal.
• It’s foolhardy to underestimate the seemingly small and weak
• Don’t believe everything you see
• One person with courage is a majority
• Never give up
• Love is the most elusive but most powerful magic of all

For more information about the book and the author, visit Sasha's website here.

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclaimer:  I received this book to read and review for a blog tour.  The opinions are my own and I did not receive monetary compensation.


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  1. Hope you're feeling better. In my case it was Herbie that was sick. That would be the computer so I was forced to go to the dreaded library which I don't like since the one here just sucks.

    The Doodle Witch does sound interesting. It can be a pain when a book just doesn't capture your attention. There have been a few that I just couldn't finish and I was pretty close to finishing them. I might go back at another time after all there are so many books out there that if I don't like one I can always grab another that I'll enjoy.

    Happy Turkey Day!

  2. good review! I'll still try reading it, although I may not like the beginning! We're pretty similar in taste. Sounds like the rest was pretty good though.
    Luv you

  3. Excellent review. Good to know that it picks up. I never know whether to just abandon a book or not

  4. This is a great review! I love how you added a quote from the book. Sounds as the author does accomplish a few of her goals in writing the book.

    Thanks For the review!

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