This book was sent to me from the author. It sounded like it would be an amazing book because it is a vague re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, except our protagonists are on an adventure to try to find Alice and stick her back into her own story. So, I thought I’d give it a read and offer an honest opinion. 🙂
The title, “Random Magic,” pretty much sums up this book. It is INCREDIBLY random and there is magic on every page. It is one of the ultimate fantasy books in that it has everything – vampires, mermaids, unicorns, muses, pirates, and much more. Anything and everything is game.
When I read the book, I was hooked right away for about 1/3 to 1/2 way through. Then a part of me was hoping for more structure. Each adventure was amazingly detailed, but I wasn’t able to anticipate what was going to happen next. If there was foreshadowing, I missed it. Truly, this is a random read. Perhaps a little too random for me.
The characters were well written. The female protagonist, Winnie, was feisty, clever, and spunky. She was a strong female character and that is something I really look forward to. The other protagonist, Henry, felt a bit flat. This was surprising, considering even some side characters had more to them than Henry. I felt Henry was just along for the ride and followed in Winnie’s footsteps. He does grow a bit by the end of the book, but not enough for my personal preference.
The other characters, such as the side characters, were all vividly described and strong in their own rights. Sometimes it felt like a bit too much detail to just have for the 1-2 chapters they were in. Yes, it gives the overall impression of the person but the same can easily be done with a bit of dialogue (which was included anyways). I fell in love with some characters only to have them either not show up again, or come back in very little segments.
As for the plot, the whole “looking for Alice” thing gets put on the back-burner and the focus is on the immediate adventure or problem for a large portion of the book. Professor Random helps at the beginning, but then he isn’t heard from again. The subplots are where this novel shines because there is a huge variety of them and they are all extremely detailed.
However, the writing felt at times to be more of a stream of consciousness rather than a traditional novel. I felt like Sasha Soren wrote down everything she was thinking, including the “Huh” and “Oh. Well then.” moments. Some of the descriptions could have been cut out without hindering the story, and a stronger focus on finding Alice would have been nice, such as introducing more clues or just bringing it up more often.
I found the scenes that revolved around water to be the most exciting. There is one scene near the end of the book that felt more like an action scene than the rest and it really stuck with me. Another scene near the beginning, showed a twist on family dynamics and even some subtle commentary about religion. I think many of these scenes could have been cut out and placed into a new book (sequel?) just so we could have the opportunity to explore them a bit more. I would have loved to read more about the vampires, for example.
I think this book will be of the most benefit if you read it randomly. Take it off the shelf, read a couple of chapters and let your mind wander. Or even, read a chapter to a child at bedtime. For those with vivid imaginations, this book will fill you up.
If you are a person that needs a strict, semi-predictable plot, and room to make your own inferences, then this is probably not the book for you. But if you truly want a random read, then I can’t think of a more magical or random book than this one.