A Criminal Magic takes the idea of Prohibition then adds magic. In this world a drug similar to alcohol called shine is made through magic. Its strength depends on that of the sorcerer who created. Like our Prohibition in the 1920s the sale and creation of shine is outlawed. Similarly to real life, many people choose to sell it illegally. Enter Joan and Alex. Joan is struggling to keep her family afloat, after the death of her mother a talented sorceress when she meets Harrison Gunn, a crime boss, who offers her an opportunity to make the money she needs as long as she make shine. Alex’s father was arrested for running a shine ring. What the police didn’t know is that Alex himself was involved. Or at least that’s what he thought until they offer him a deal. If he infiltrates a crime ring run and helps the cops shut it down, they’ll leave him alone and so he reluctantly agrees. As the story continues, Alex and Joan’s stories start to intertwine, leading to a conclusion that no one will see coming.
I liked the multiple POVs in this story. If only one of two told the story, it wouldn’t as much sense and the characters themselves would be more one-dimensional. This way we got to know both Joan and Alex and find out what they hid from each other and eventually what they hide from the reader. Both speak in the 1st person but there’s never any chance of the reader confusing their perspectives.
In terms of world building I thought the author did a good job of balancing between making a distinct world that was different from our world but at the same time keeping enough the same so that the reader isn’t overwhelmed. I liked the descriptions of magic and hearing about all the different things it could do based on who was wielding.
At times the plot moved a little slowly but overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend to fans of fantasy and/or historical fiction Continue reading
The newly formed Horace Greeley High School Literary Society will be offering a themed book list each month. The first is a list of Family-themed suggestions. Here are some of the titles along with the "call numbers" to find them here in the library.
Funny in Farsi-YA Biography Dumas
Brooklyn-Fiction Toibin Book Club
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before-YA Han
An Ember in the Ashes-YA Tahir Ember v01
The Unexpected Everything-New YA Fiction Matson
Since You’ve Been Gone-YA Payne
Under The Mesquite-YA McCall
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
(Grade recommendation: 7-10)
Young adolescent named Junior who lives a hard life on his Indian Reservation with his abusive best friend and a tough social life at school, decides to move to an all-white school with an Indian as their mascot. He enjoys his new life, making the school basketball team and getting a girlfriend, but still having to deal with people back home referring to him as a traitor
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
This is by far my favorite alternate history novel, and my favorite graphic novel of all time, not to mention one of my favorite novels in general. Like many recent comics in the superhero genre (recent being only generously given, considering it was written in the 80s), Watchmen seeks to both celebrate and subvert its genre. It takes place in an alternate history where shortly after the rise of superhero comics, many people started taking to the idea of masked vigilantism themselves. It also takes on several tropes of the genre through its characters. Dr. Manhattan is an all powerful superhero being who, unlike superman, finds himself alienated from the human world after gaining godlike supersentience, and near omnipresence. The stereotypically conservative undertones of the genre that have so often been the subject of debate are reflected in the extremely right-wing Rorschach, who lives life with a near psychopathic disregard for the shades of grey in the world. Far from a humorous satire, Watchmen not only tackles historically rooted issues like the mutually assured destruction of the cold war, but also ponders universal issues, connecting the importance of the individual, with the importance of the majority, and finding no contradiction in the process.