First Magic Lessons Review

The clock is ticking down on the official release date for the sequel to Magic or Madness. The 16th of March is just around the corner. Yay!

While the book isn’t quite out yet, the first review is (be warned: if you haven’t read MorM this is loaded with spoilers):

    Magic Lessons Penguin/Razorbill
    Sequel to Magic or Madness (2005), this second in a proposed trilogy continues the story of 15-year old Reason, an Australian girl who has spent much of her life running away from the magic that dominates her family. She now understands that running won’t help her, it will only bring her closer to a terrible choice . . . use magic and die young, or stay away from magic and go mad. Her grandmother and friends in Australia want to help her, and her grandfather in New York City wants to steal her magic to lengthen his own lifespan. Transported between two physical worlds, and hung on the horns of the metaphysical, Reason must find her own path. In this installment, Reason makes some life-altering choices as she makes the transition from innocent child to young adult, and becomes more determined than ever to alter the direction of her life. Those who enjoyed the first installment will race through this second one and wait anxiously for the proposed end of the trilogy, in which one hopes for final clearer resolution for Reason and her friends.
    Kirkus Reviews, 1 March 2006

Kirkus is legendary for writing snarky reviews, which makes a positive review from them seem even sweeter. Neither Scott nor me has been on the receiving end of such a review, so we think Kirkus is just fine, thank you very much.

Despite what I said in this post about being more relaxed about this book coming out—you know, now that I’m a hoary-toothed old pro—I’ve been sweating it large waiting for the reviews. So many people’s second books—especially those in a series—are not as well reviewed as the first, even when they’re clearly better. While the first book in a series can be recognised for its originality, the second book, no matter how good, can’t possibly be as original or startling, because it’s set in the same world with the same characters. In that light (and in pretty much any light, really) this review makes me smile.


  1. Ben Payne on #


  2. anghara on #

    Congrats – and you’re right, congrats especially given that it’s book 2, which are notoriously (rightly or wrongly) suspected as being filler, the necessary muddle between the fabulous beginning in book 1 and the explosive finale of book 3. So knowing your second one is pulling its own weight and being recognised on its own merits is pretty sweet!

  3. innle on #

    Congrats on the great review! I am SO EXCITED about this book.

    Dancing around on the spot in anticipation,


  4. blossom on #

    Hi Justine,
    I was online for the author chat that you were on with Holly Black last month. Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed MAGIC OR MADNESS, and am looking forward to MAGIC LESSONS. I’m glad you got a good review from Kirkus, and I don’t think you have to worry about the second book complex. MORM gave so many tantalizing hints to all the story to come. I can’t wait to read how Reason’s magic manifests itself, etc. Take care, blossom

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