Magic: a novel Paperback – March 6, 2020
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"This is a great book." Ignoring Life Blog
"Magic was a magical book for me and I feel like I came back from it a much better person. I plan to reread this book during times when I'm feeling down the most, or more stressed. I know it will help me find the balance I'm missing. Fantastic." Books & Shadows
"Magic is a strange yet funny and heart-warming story that will make you think about magic and the world - I recommend it to those who are looking for a little magic!" Enthralled Bookworm Reviews
"Simple yet wacky, funny and charming. Mike Russell seems to have mastered the art of throwing absurdities onto paper, while keeping his writing bright and interesting at the same time." Cultured Vultures
From the Back Cover
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Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick. Magic is a magic novel by Mike Russell.
(Description from Amazon)
My favorite thing about this novel is that it never loses hope. The main character Charlie struggles with the idea that maybe magic isn’t real, and it causes him to slip into depression. In this novel they call it, the pull of the hole, because the Arctic and Antarctic have holes in them that lead all the way through the Earth and spit out the other side. Everyone who doesn’t believe in Magic feels the pull of the hole, and many people who feel it jump in and die. But, even when Charlie feels the pull he doesn’t give up. At one point Charlie says,
“If you jump into the hole-through-the-Earth, you’ll never know what might have happened if you hadn’t. Something amazing might have happened! Something more amazing than anything you could have imagined!”
That really resonated with me because suicide is a hard subject. My family has experienced its aftermath like many others and the pain never truly goes away. These words are right, if you end it you’ll never know what could have happened.
At first, I didn’t really like Charlie because he was gullible and child-like, but he did grow on me, and I often found myself feeling bad for him. He believes in lies that were told to him by one of the only people that treated him with dignity and it all comes crashing down. Mike Russell does a fantastic job of setting Charlie up for disappointment, but not making him a miserable character. Charlie’s life starts to come crashing down when he visits a magic show, I knew it wasn’t going to end well when he said,
“It’s a ridiculous thing to think because a magician would never do that. A magician would never trick an audience.”
I knew in that moment I was about to watch a train wreck, but Charlie never becomes a hard character to read, even when he feels the pull of the hole.
Russell also does a great job of setting up a world adjacent to our own. Everything is pretty much the same but a few key elements are different. The book opens with a different telling of the Big Bang, it starts like this,
“Before the universe existed, there was a giant, black, upside-down top hat surrounded by empty, black nothingness. There was nothing inside the top hat and there was nothing outside the top hat. The top hat was all there was, except for the nothingness. And the nothingness went on forever.”
I love when authors retell either the story of creation or the Big Bang to set up their worlds, because it creates familiarity. I know I’m entering a world similar to mine even though it might not be the same. Russell does a fantastic job of bridging that gap between our reality and the reality of this book.
I wasn’t too fond of this story being told through Charlie’s diary, because the character is a rambler and he seems like an unreliable narrator. The book seems like it’s going to end, then doesn’t. While I’m glad it doesn’t actually end because the novel has a fabulous ending, I didn’t like the feeling of okay, we’re done, just kidding. It was a roller coaster of strange anticipation that was more of a distraction than interesting. But, I will say that through Charlie’s writing Russell makes a really good point. Charlie/Russell writes,
“These words that I’m writing are showing it all to you in your mind. That’s what words can do. I describe something using words and you see what I’m describing in your mind.”
I love this quote because it’s so true, and perfectly expresses the idea of storytelling. Writing is magic, because somehow authors are able to transport their vision into your mind.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Magic earns a 4/5 stars. Thank you to Mike Russell and Jay from StrangeBooks for reaching out to me.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
‘Magic’ by Mike Russell is a fun story about a person’s ability to discover the power of magic in his life, no matter how dire the consequences. The story follows the journey of Charlie Watson, a young man adopted by a magician due to a difficult upbringing. After his adoptive parent passes away, Charlie is drawn to a magicical performance in his area. Having a close connection to magic himself, Charlie believes that he has found a kindred spirit that he can gain knowledge from. What he actually discovers is much more than he could have imagined!
Throughout the book, Charlie goes on a wild journey of revelations. His entire life is based on the knowledge learned form his adoptive parent: magic exists to make people happy. He also wants to share this knowledge with everyone around him. Along the way he uncovers the wide scope of emotion that people experience: disbelief, sadness, hope. While Charlie’s belief system is faced with challenged, it ultimately provides him with a renewed awareness on the true meaning of magic.
I really appreciated reading ‘Magic’, and I think that people would love this story filled with unexpected twists and turns!
This is certainly a strange story, and it took me a second to find my footing once I began reading it, but it endears itself to you through the lead. Charlie Watson, in his early twenties, still retains the kindness and empathy that he had as a child. He starts the novel with the strong belief that magic is real, and despite the fact that his belief falters at times—as well as the fact that he is bullied plenty for it—in the end, he strives to not only keep living his life in the abundance of magic that he knows exists, but tries to open the eyes of others so that they can see the same thing that he does. He has an unfailing spirit that is nothing if not admirable.
Magic are incredibly whimsical to the point of disbelief a lot of times, but you can't help becoming lost in the storytelling. And through Charlie, your eyes are opened slightly more to the world around you and the fact that no matter how mundane it appears to be, the mere fact that you get to exist every day is special.