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Monday, July 20, 2009

Review: Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Title: Old Magic
Author: Marianne Curley
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date Published: 2002
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Magic, Curses, Love, Time travel
Pages: 317
Plot (from back cover):
"Jarrod Thornton is mesmerizing, but Kate Warren doesn't know why.

The moment the new guy walks into the room, Kate senses something strange and intense about him. Something supernatural. Her instincts are proven correct a few minutes later when, bullied by his classmates, Jarrod unknowingly conjures up a freak thunderstorm inside their classroom.

Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal. When Kate tries to convince him that he has extraordinary powers that need to be harnessed, he only puts up with her "hocus pocus" notions because he finds her captivating. However, the dangerous, uncontrolled strengthening of his gift finally convinces Jarrod that he must take Kate's theories seriously. Together, they embark on a remarkable journey - one which will unravel the mystery that has haunted Jarrod's family for generations and pit the teens against immense forces in a battle to undo the past and shape the future."

First off, I have to say that I thought this was a pretty good book for being the author's first published novel. It has a lot of interesting elements, like the time travel and the curse on Jarrod's family. However, I felt like there was a lot of loose ends that didn't really get tied up - and perhaps some things that didn't really fit right for me in the story.

First off, I was a bit bothered by the fact that Jarrod goes from being bullied to suddenly being one of the cool kids. It didn't really make any sense to me. And for someone who desperately wants to be accepted, he sure is quick to shun Kate, who accepted and helped him from the beginning (even if he does think she's a bit crazy).

I also felt like the antagonist wasn't fully developed - he just seemed half-hearted to me. I found more annoying than devious.

Otherwise, I thought that this was a good effort by Marianne Curley. I enjoyed it much more than The Named, which she wrote after Old Magic. I've read lots of reviews raving about all of her books though, so I think its just a preference thing. I read A LOT of epic fantasy, so I think my standards are a bit high and Old Magic just didn't really cut it for me.

But I think its worth a read simply because the romance and Jarrod's transformation and very well written. If you like Old Magic, then you should give the The Named a try... and the next two in that trilogy.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 7
Characters: 8
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 9
Total: 44/50 (B+)

My copy was from the library and I suggest you find it there too... :)


  1. Hmm, thanks for the review! The cover definitely attracts me, but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the story. I think I'll take your suggestion and take a trip to the library... :)

  2. I agree, the cover is really cool but some of the story is just lacking. Although I think it improved a lot when Jarrod finally wakes up to the truth and gets a backbone :) lol but good review!

  3. Do the cover models look to you like Bella and Edward from Twilight? That's all I can think of when I see the cover... The book sounds interesting enough, so I'll probably follow your suggestion and see if I can find it at my library. Thanks for the great review!

    - Alex


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