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Magic Street Hardcover – June 28, 2005

3.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The residents of Baldwin Hills, a middle-class African-American L.A. neighborhood, get caught up in a battle between the king and the queen of the fairies in this wonderful urban fantasy from Card (Seventh Son). Mack Street, who was abandoned as an infant, grows up to be a sweet but strange but sweet boy. No one could imagine how he is connected to "Bag Man," who lives in an invisible house at the opening to Fairyland and can temporarily force anyone to happily do his bidding, or to a darkly mysterious "motorcycle riding hoochie mama," who seduces men with a touch and has big plans for Baldwin Hills. Not even Cecil "Ceese" Tucker, who found Mack in a shopping bag, can believe that the neighbors' most secret desires are flowing into Mack's dreams, occasionally dripping out and becoming true in a horrifically twisted fashion. When a young swimmer who wishes she were a fish is found drowning in her father's waterbed, magic is never suspected. But once everyone knows the truth, what will they do about it? The ways that the mundane and fantastic intersect are completely believable, and the characters crackle with personality and attitude. Crisp, clean writing creates a vivid sense of place and plugs readers into a story they won't want to see end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

One day, ultra-fastidious Byron Williams gives a grimy, bag-bedizened bum a lift in his immaculate Mercedes. Weird? Not half, compared to what awaits Byron: his wife, Nadine, in labor--and only the bum seems to have known she was pregnant. When an abnormally small boy is born, the bum reappears, bags the newborn, and splits. Afterward, Nadine remembers nothing of the experience. Ceese Tucker, 12, discovers the baby in the bag, resists very strange urges to destroy it, and gets single neighbor Ura Lee Smitcher to adopt. Ceese becomes informal big brother to the baby, dubbed Mack Street, who grows into a loner who walks the neighborhood day and night, cherished by all. Early on, Mack realizes that he can dream others' fondest wishes until they come true; but if he does, they turn on their wishers, so that, for example, a young swimmer who wishes she were a fish is found inside a water bed, permanently brain damaged from oxygen starvation. At 13, Mack breaches Fairyland via a house that only he can see; four years on, he becomes the focal figure in a battle of good and evil that impinges on fairy and human realms alike. Responding to a black friend's challenge to create a black hero, and inspired by Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Card has constructed a suspenseful fantasy thriller that, during the race to the last page, has one mulling over myth, morals, salvation, and will. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345416899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345416896
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Spencer Smith on July 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Card fan for over 20 years, I always get his newest work as soon as the ink is dry. While I must say it's refreshing that he finally wrote a book that's not part of a series (at least I hope it's not), this novel struck me as a good idea that he labored at too long and tried too hard to button up. At times the dialogue is cheesy indeed, and I think he overdoes the attempts to make the sentences sound African-American, until it seems forced, as if he never wants the reader to forget that the characters are black.

Still, this is Card, and he keeps the story interesting enough to carry you through to the end--but I found myself hoping it would end sooner than it did. The character development was good as it usually is with Card, but the story was a bit slow getting started and overall it wasn't the usual "I can't put it down" kind of read I've come to expect from this author.

After turning the final page and closing the book, it all seemed just a bit offputting--like something was missing but I couldn't figure out what it was. Since I bought the book I'll leave it in my library, but I'm certainly in no rush to read it again soon.
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By Professor J on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I usually give Card a great deal of leeway that I don't give to other authors, because when he's good he's amazing. But when he's bad he's abysmal, and unfortunately Magic Street is a little too close to the "bad" end of the spectrum. I literally couldn't finish the book -- stopped about 2/3 of the way in, because I simply didn't care what happened to the main character anymore.

That was probably my biggest problem with the book. Mack Street is simply uninteresting. He's friendly but friendless, tough but ultimately apathetic, likable but somehow bland in personality. I think Card does a good job of depicting an intelligent young man with an imaginative, clever nature, who's dealing with some seriously weird stuff. But I think the problem is that Mack has no drive. There's not enough conflict in the story to bring out the full rich potential of his character. Mack is no Ender, driven to excel under impossible pressure, or Ansset, who overcomes soul-destroying hardships. Mack finds Fairyland and basically goes, "Huh. Guess I'll explore." He has no reason to do it, other than boredom and vague curiosity. Elsewhere in the book he learns that he has a terrible power that can and does hurt people, but it never seems to really bother him all that much. His sarcastic, devil-may-care attitude only exacerbates the problem: ultimately, Mack has no passion. He doesn't seem to care much about anything, so why should the reader?

On top of this, I was annoyed by the structure of the book. The first chapter or two could've been left out altogether, since the story didn't begin until baby Mack was found. We're three or four chapters in before we meet the main character in a form we can interact with and start "getting to know".
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By M. Ade on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I like Orson Scott Card.. but when he starts talking about black people I just want to cringe. I'm still in the process of reading the book as it's just one of those you can't put down even if you try to. As a black person I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone who doesn't truly understand the black culture as this might give someone an off representation about how it really is to be black. It seems like Card tried really hard to get his characters right and I think it was nice of him to try... I think he just tried too hard to address racial and age related issues. The actual story is pretty intriguing if you're able to get past everything else... Read it if you'd like, but just remember that these are characters and not real people. Honestly, black people don't really think about their color all the time. They only think of it when they're reminded of it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Depending what you like this may or may not be your favorite book by Orson Scott Card. Although I loved all of the Ender and Shadow novels best of all, I also loved the Sleeping Beauty retelling in Enchantment. Here OSC does for Shakespeare, what he did for Sleeping Beauty.
This is a slower building story than most of his work, but in the end very rewarding. If you enjoy fantasy with a modern twist this is a book for you. If you enjoy exploring motives and motivation of human nature, this is a book for you. As always love, honor and responsibility are the primary themes of this story. Definitely worth a read!
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Format: Hardcover
This book definitely has a different feel than most Card books. The fantasy element is kind of similar to "Enchantment" but it goes another level or two deeper and weirder. Not that weird is bad, it's just different. I enjoyed it - it pulled me along to the end and made me think. I thought the African-American elements of the book were a little forced - almost as if there were parts of the book that Card just wanted to remind us "Remember this book is about African-Americans!", but it's not too distracting. Overall I would recommend it to all Card fans, but if you haven't read much Card, there are better places to start.

You can access the first five chapters of the book at hatrack dot com. That preview will give you a pretty good idea of what the book is like without having to buy it.
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