Bibliomancy for Beginners: Review and Hangout Video for “Magic for Beginners” by Kelly Link

All of you probably know how this works by now. I give you my review of this book, and then you get to watch the video of my book club talking about it. It’s pretty cool. Also, this week, Taylor and I went AT each other with verbal sparring, so it’s interesting to say the least. Here we go!

Link_cover.inddMagic for Beginners by Kelly Link

Goodreads | Amazon

The nine stories in Link’s second collection are the spitting image of those in her acclaimed debut, Stranger Things Happen: effervescent blends of quirky humor and pathos that transform stock themes of genre fiction into the stuff of delicate lyrical fantasy. In “Stone Animals,” a house’s haunting takes the unusual form of hordes of rabbits that camp out nightly on the front lawn. This proves just one of several benign but inexplicable phenomena that begin to pull apart the family newly moved into the house as surely as a more sinister supernatural influence might. The title story beautifully captures the unpredictable potential of teenage lives through its account of a group of adolescent schoolfriends whose experiences subtly parallel events in a surreal TV fantasy series. Zombies serve as the focus for a young man’s anxieties about his future in “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” and offer suggestive counterpoint to the lives of two convenience store clerks who serve them in “The Hortlak.” Not only does Link find fresh perspectives from which to explore familiar premises, she also forges ingenious connections between disparate images and narrative approaches to suggest a convincing alternate logic that shapes the worlds of her highly original fantasies.

2 stars

Oh boy did I have opinions on this one. Ooh boy. Considering that this was Taylor’s pick and he and Michaela from The Pied Piper Calls loved it … I had a teeny tiny bit of an … unpopular opinion. (Which is why you should watch the hangout because ohmygod.)

If I started breaking this down by story, we’d be here forever. So let me just give some general stats:

Stories I liked: “The Great Divorce,” “Magic for Beginners,” “The Faery Handbag.”

Stories I was meh about: “The Cannon,” “Lull,” “Stone Animals.”

Stories I didn’t like: “Some Zombie Contingency Plans,” “Catskin,” “The Hortlak.”

The unfortunate thing about even the stories I did like was that I never really connected with any of them. All the characters seemed either flat or completely turned me off them. Since the stories depended on their characters, this seemed like a really bad thing to let slide.

The stories also never ended where I wanted them too, and had too much set up with too little payoff. yes, I know these are short stories, but there is still a difference between finding the perfect ending and “this will end here because eh why not.”

There is also the fact that too many of these stories just CREEPED me OUT. I haven’t had my stomach churning that horribly since a couple of thrillers I DNFed last year. I had to put the book down in between stories and try to shake it off. I guess, in a way, that’s a good thing because I was having an emotional reaction to the stories in some way. It just really wasn’t the right one to have.

This isn’t a full review by a long shot, but that’s because I have something better for you! I have a VIDEO! Me and my Bibliomancer buddies go at this things like WOLVES! Okay, well, I do. Taylor and Michaela liked it. Rachel was with me. It’s time for WAR! (Just kidding. We all really are friends.)


3 thoughts on “Bibliomancy for Beginners: Review and Hangout Video for “Magic for Beginners” by Kelly Link

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