Sunday, May 16, 2010

Old Magic by Marianne Curley


Kate is a teenager living in a small mountain town in Australia. She doesn't consider herself to be pretty, and she certainly isn't popular. Her mother ran off when Kate was just a baby, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother, Jillian. Jillian and Kate are witches and the whole town suspects the truth even though they have been careful not to publicly demonstrate their abilities. Things start to look up when a new boy arrives in town. Jarrod Thornton is cute, if somewhat clumsy, and has powerful abilities he doesn't even seem to be aware of.

Any romantic hopes Kate has for Jarrod are quickly dashed when she discovers that he is in complete denial of his abilities. He thinks she's crazy for believing in such things. He has a desperate need to fit in so he hangs out with the in-crowd and is embarrased to even be seen with Kate. Jarrod might be oblivious to his gift, but he can't ignore the curse that is hanging over his family. As the bad luck, injuries, and accidents begin to intensify, Jarrod comes to share Kate's belief that someone with knowledge of the black arts cursed one of his ancestors with misfortune, a curse that has been inherited by each subsequent generation. The only way for Jarrod to stop the curse is to travel back in time and prevent it from being cast in the first place.

This book starts out slow. So slow, in fact, that I would put it down and then not be too excited about getting back into it again. Things improve tremendously when Jarrod and Kate travel back in time to stop the curse. There is alot more action and the characters are finally given a chance to develop a relationship. Up until that point, their tentative friendship wasn't really believable, what with Kate thinking he was a spineless coward and Jarrod thinking she was crazy. I was starting to wonder why they even wanted to be in the same room with each other. If you can get past the early stage of the book, you will be rewarded with a more interesting story and characters. The ending may be predictable, but it's still satisfying.

BEST FEATURE: The time travel. I'm always a sucker for this plot device. It's even more intriguing when the characters run across ancestors or descendants, depending on what direction in time they're traveling. Who hasn't mused about what life would be like if you go back and correct your mistakes?

WORST FEATURE: Part one of the book. I haven't read too many books that have started out this badly. Normally, the first few chapters of the book are written to grab your attention and draw you into the story. The author needs to make you care about these characters so that you keep reading. In this case, the first part of this book introduces the main characters, but you don't really care about them until part two.

PARENTAL WARNING: minor violence; sexual content is minimal and mostly consists of kissing

MY RATING: 2.5 - The beginning of the book drags it down, but it's still an interesting read nonetheless.

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