Monday, August 20, 2012

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is a little bit like Harry Potter in reverse.

On Abby Hale's twelfth birthday, she goes to the Magicians' Guild to be Judged. All twelve-year-olds are Judged to determine their magical capabilities, after which they are allowed to use magic, and to apply to schools where their magical talents will be developed. Abby, however, does not have any magic. None. She is an "Ord," one of the very rare non-magical people in her world. Ords are despised and feared, because they are not only unable to work magic, they are also impervious to the magic of others. Until a few years ago, it was legal to buy and sell Ords as slaves. Now, thanks to governmental regulations, Ords are only bought and sold on the black market -- but often they are still treated as if they are sub-human. Abby is fortunate: her family still loves her, so there's no question of her parents abandoning, selling, or mistreating her. Instead, she is sent to a special school, designed to teach Ords how to function in a magically-dominated world. She soon learns that the world is a dangerous place for Ords, even at a school designed to protect them.

I wanted to love this book, but I ended up only liking it. It was a fun story -- a pleasant diversion that I don't think I'll find particularly memorable. The secondary characters, particularly Abby's siblings, were great. The ending is not a cliff-hanger, but leaves the door wide open for future volumes. I'll probably read them, and I can see myself recommending this book to kids who are looking for something like Harry Potter. As for adults, seek this out if you are a big fan of juvenile fantasy and are looking for a quick, light read.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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