Love, fate, and age-old curses: 'The Book of Magic' by Alice Hoffman
Jet Owens has only seven days to live. With the deathwatch beetle following her everywhere, Jet knows that her time has come. In her late 80s, Jet is a kind, warm woman, trying her best to help those in need. Yet, her life seems unfulfilled and there is one last thing she needs to take care of before embracing death. What is it, then, that is bothering a woman in this seemingly late chapter of her life?
As Alice Hoffman unfolds the story in this book and brings an end to her The Practical Magic (Simon Schuster, 2020) series, readers find the enchanted Owens women embarking on a menacing journey that involves coming in close contact with the Dark side or "left-handed" magic, as the author puts it.
An adventurous young adult read, full of enchantments, emotions, and familial bond, The Book of Magic (Simon & Schuster, 2021) is something readers might relish if they are looking to read in the supernatural/fantasy genre. Set across the United States of America and England, the book follows the mystical Owens women who have set out on a journey in order to break a curse that has steered their lives for centuries.
Whoever they fall in love with meets with an untimely death. How can one bear to live while a loved one is perishing right in front of their eyes? The readers confront such questions throughout the entire novel that connects them to the storyline easily. As the narrative unfolds, the writer tells of a curse that has loomed over the family members for centuries, and Jet Owens sets off on a mission to end it while the deathwatch beetle keeps clicking away. She goes to the library and seeks out "The Book of the Raven", a book that holds the key to ending the notorious curse. Yet, the path is as difficult as can be since the one who embarks upon it will lose something precious.
While Jet breathes her last and is buried beside her childhood sweetheart, a series of tragic events take place in the Owens family. Gideon, the love of Kylie's life, is met with a sudden accident. As he is lying in the hospital bed battling for his life, Kylie realises that the abrupt catastrophe and Gideon's critical condition are all but a work of the curse. She sets out on a dangerous journey to rectify their circumstances and quickly finds herself in a place where Gideon's isn't the only life hanging by a thread.
The familial bond portrayed in the novel makes it easy to sympathise with the characters and they rarely seem woven in a piece of fiction; rather, their attributes are more lifelike and one may just find someone like Franny or Gillian Owens among their kith and kin. However, the family line in the novel can be a little difficult to decipher and the descriptions sometimes come off as too dense. Nonetheless, Alice Hoffman weaves the ending well and The Book of Magic is perhaps some sort of a closure, being the last one in the series of four.
Shejuti Pasha loves reading along with a cup of coffee. Tell her more about books at [email protected].