I read Practical Magic a million years ago (1996 maybe) and remember almost nothing about it besides the fact that I pretty much loved and adored everything about it. I didn’t obsessively write reviews for everything I read back then so I may need to reread it someday to see if this still holds true. This is the prequel. You do not have to have read Practical Magic in order to love and adore The Rules of Magic. I listened on audio and did not take notes and simply enjoyed every word.
Susanna moved out of Massachusetts as soon as she was able. She landed in NY and was diligent about making sure her kids had a normal life and stayed away from certain things like Oujia boards, cats, moonlit nights, red shoes and true love. Especially true love. Finding or seeking love would doom them, she promised. Of course the kids do the exact opposite. When Susanna’s oldest daughter receives a formal invitation to spend the summer at her childhood home with her two younger siblings she tells them they can go but strongly advises against it. She claims, very ominously, that they will never be the same if they leave and visit their aunt and learn all the family secrets she’s been keeping from them!
Susanna handled this all wrong, if you ask me. Were I her, I would’ve told the kids that auntie was a mean old hag who would lock them in the basement for the summer and feed them rats. Of course they go. I mean, wouldn’t you? Franny, Jet and Vincent spend the summer released from all of the rules and restrictions their parents usually inflict upon them. They can eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want and as long as “they do no harm” they are free to be themselves. They revel in it and start snooping into their heritage and learning all about their inherited magical abilities. And, just as their Mamma forecasted, none of them will ever be the same.
See, they’ve inherited more than magic. A terrible curse will plague them throughout their lives. The curse of true love. Mamma wasn't lying.
This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking book about the three siblings as they grow from teens to adults and do their best to avoid love and the grief that accompanies love. In the process, they fill their lives with sorrow.
“I’m fated to lose everyone I ever love”
“Of course you are. That’s what it means to be alive.”
Reading this is like free falling into another world. It’s a truly magical experience and I highly recommend it. I hated leaving the characters when it was all over and that so rarely happens that I’m giving it all the stars.
The audio narrated by Marin Ireland is the way to go if you enjoy audio. She’s excellent and a pleasure to listen to.
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
I really enjoyed this book. I am actually a little surprised by how much I ended up liking it. I decided to read this book because I was intrigued by the description. It was that same description that had me worried that this book may not work for me. I love the idea of unreliable narrators but I have had mixed luck with them. Let me just say that this book worked very well for me on all levels. I read almost the whole book in a single day and could seem to stop turning pages. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.
This is Amber's story. Amber is in a coma and can hear what is going on around her but can't respond. I was immediately drawn into the story because I felt like I needed to know how Amber ended up in that coma. I wouldn't really say that I liked Amber or any of the other characters in the story but I didn't dislike them either. I had no idea who to trust at any point in the story.
The dual timelines in this book worked well. Piece by piece, we learn the details of what events led up to her hospitalization as well as everything happening around her while she is in the coma. I was really equally interesting in both timelines and thought that the story switched from then to now at just the right moments to keep the story moving forward.
This book was full of twists and turns. It is really best to go into this book as blindly as possible which I was thankfully able to do. As I read the book I quickly discovered that everything that I thought I knew about the story was completely wrong. I was taken by surprise many times over the course of the story and sometimes had to take a short break just to process what I had just learned. I quickly began to expect the unexpected and I still found that I was shocked by some of the twists along the way.
I would recommend this book to others. I loved how this book kept me guessing until the very end. I am really impressed with Alice Feeney's style of writing and hope to read more of her work in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Flatiron Press via NetGalley.
Well...that wasn't really what I had expected. I mean that in the best way possible. Everything I thought I knew while reading this book was wrong. I knew nothing and loved every minute of it.
While this debut novel did have potential, it felt a bit like the author was trying too hard for that something that makes a memorable psychological thriller. The twists abound, but there were so many and they became so outrageous that the belief factor just flew out the window. In addition to chapters alternating between then and now, plus before, after, and later, we have characters that are called one name them and another now, characters that may or may not be real, and no one among them all that made me want to root for them. Despite the many attempts, I didn't find anything to give the story that edge of your seat, heart-racing feeling that should come with a thriller, and what started with such great potential quickly became convoluted and disappointing.