Books of magic and the magic of books

I had never been able to walk past a bookshelf without having a look at the contents

Lilian Brooks

I like a good quote, if your a regular reader of this blog you are probably aware of this fact. I like the one above because, well… I’ve never been able to walk past a bookshelf without looking in my life. This is because books, as Stephen King put it ‘are a uniquely portable magic’. They transport us to different places, different times, different sets of rules and inside different minds, both the minds of characters and the minds of the authors themselves.

Books are powerful because perhaps more than any other medium they offer us a window into the souls of others. Movies and tv shows offer up a vision, but it is the directors vision. Music is at its best a shared experience between musician and listener. Books on the other hand are something the reader experiences alone. Every voice is a voice you ascribe to the speaker, be it the authors literary voice or the characters within. And how you experience the reading a book says as much about you as it does about the author.

Some books need to be wallowed in, read slowly, a chapter or two at a time in those stolen minutes between heading to bed and sleeping. Some books need to read all at once, because their magic is in the turn of each page, the pace of the story, a story tripping over itself to be told. These books are travel books, that is not to say they are books about traveling, there are plenty of them, but they are books you read while traveling. Books that can be measured in a plane ride, or three hours on a train. Stories that are best read all at once, with short chapters that spur you on to the next…

Sometimes such books are written to be just that, a joyous fun read that wiles away the passage through the clouds, or the click clack of rails. Books you can not take your time with because there is a unurgency to them that wants to be read all at once.

Which brings me back to the quote I started with, or to be exact the book it came from, which is the second in a series. In the back of this book there is another quote, a quote from a review of the first book in this series, Dormant Magick By Lilian Brooks

The joy is in the reading, it has a splendid pace to it, well written and well structured… Everything keeps moving along, both in terms of plot and the relationships of the various characters within the coven. It doesn’t allow itself to become too predictable.

That’s a good quote, I should know as its quoting me. There is another odd bit of book magic for you. When you a ‘Praise for xxxxxx’ or ‘Also by’ and find yourself being quoted it always lends itself to a rye smile, particularly if you know they have cut something out of the quote… But it does beg the question does the second book live up to the first or does it instead wallow in the kind of saccharin over-sweetness that plagues many novels in this sort of genre, which the original didn’t, as I took pains to point out…?*

* I actually love the fact that authors occasionally quote my reviews, and if they want to do so they can chop them up anyway they wish. It just amuses me when they miss out the bits I considered important.

Rising MagicK By Lilian Brooks

I read this book in a morning, on the sofa, after songbird woke me one early dawn on a Saturday a hour before I would normally have gotten up for work through the week. Not really wanting to start the day, but wide awake, I made myself a good coffee with one of the last of my coffee pods, opened the curtains to take advantage of the day light, and proped myself up on the sofa arm to read for half hour or so before I started the day properly and got on with stuff.

Three hours and two more cups of coffee later, I put the book down having finished it. Its that kind of read. The kind you start and actually can’t put down. The kind ideal for lazy Saturdays on the sofa in the morning sunlight,. or long train journeys or flights to foreign climes.

The story picks up where book one left off, and follows a similar pattern. Short sharp chapters, that invite you on to the next one. Alyssa Bright and her little cavern of twenty-somethings living a less quiet life than it should be in the most haunted and haunting town on the Yorkshire coast. There’s a big reveal I saw coming in the first book but somehow was still surprised by when it was finally revealed. There are real locations transplanted into the story that if you know Whitby at all will delight you. There is also a sense of brooding ominousness to the story. An ominousness that leave you reading for the next book in the series ( which luckily for me happens to be on my coffee table as I write this).

It is very obviously a part of a longer series, and you should start with book one which I reviewed last year. If you read that and enjoyed it read this one. If you didn’t read the first book, do so.

One final aside, the main charter is called Alyssa, as discussed previously there is now apparently a rule that states all lead female characters in urban fantasies must be called Alyssa . No one knows why this is…


About Mark Hayes

Writer A messy, complicated sort of entity. Quantum Pagan. Occasional weregoth Knows where his spoon is, do you? #author #steampunk
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