The Best Kind of Magic
by Crystal Cestari
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
RATING: 4 stars
Amber works ather mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?
The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and willappeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
The Best Kind of Magic was a super fun and light read, truly intended for a young audience. It tells the story of Amber Sand, a teenage girl who comes from a long line of witches and yet was gifted with matchmaking abilities instead. Then when Charlie Blitzman comes along and asks her help to find a missing person, Amber begins to fall for him despite knowing that she is not his soulmate.
As a matchmaker, Amber can tell a person’s true love with just one glance. However, in the hierarchy of supernaturals, Amber’s magical abilities are considered to be at the bottom of the pyramid. It saddens me just how much she was looked down upon in this book. Just because she couldn’t do heavy magic like her witch-mother or other supernaturals can, she has to live her whole life with this discrimination. Anyway, who’s to say whose magic was better? What makes vampires, shapeshifters and sirens superior, for that matter? I wish we’d gotten a deeper explanation for their magical system. However, the series is far from over so hopefully, we will get to see more of it.
On a positive note, I like how the author brought something new to the plate. As with every fantasy book, the one thing I always look forward to is what kind of magical creatures I will be encountering. In The Best Kind of Magic, we still have the usual assortment of witches, vampires, werewolves, sirens and the like. But a matchmaker heroine? Now that’s something.
I also liked how this book deals with fate. Amber deals with it everyday, doing readings for customers of Windy City Magic Shop, helping soulmates come together and revealing those who aren’t. I love how the Fates were personified in this book too and the way this book makes us question our own beliefs.
Like… If there really was a pre-conceived thing such as fate, do our choices even matter? Do we really have a say in who we choose to love or has it all been decided right even before we were born? And if fate did exist, is there something we could do to fight or change it? This book touches all those questions, but without being too melodramatic or overly serious. That’s the best charm of this book. Even though the theme is a heavy one, the story is written in a light-hearted manner and pure good sense of humor.
But the thing is… I also disliked the way Amber was so callous about people’s feelings. Even though she’s cool and very funny in a sarcastic way, there are times that her juvenile attitude irks me. Perfectly understandable of course, given that she’s a teen. NOPE. What annoys me most is that she doesn’t understand the essence of what she’s doing. For the couples who’re meant to be, YAYYY!!! Good for you! But for those who are not each other’s destinies, Amber doesn’t understand why they should be sad or heartbroken when she thinks she has spared them from the wrong choice.
I love Amber’s character development from here on forward. Because as immature as she was at the beginning, Amber’s perspective changes. It took Charlie Blitzman for her to realize what those people whose hopes she’d broken were feeling. Now, every time she looks into his eyes, all Amber sees is him together with his soulmate – and it’s not Amber. I think this sobered her up a little bit and made her more sympathetic and appreciative about her powers. I also liked what Charlie had said about her magic:
“I don’t know how it all works, and maybe it seems like nothing to you, but watching you do it” – the corners of his mouth tug upward at the memory – “you were basically taking away those creatures’ fears of being alone by giving them the promise of love. Do you have any idea how incredible that is?”
Charlie dear, it is you who is incredible. Thank you for pointing that out to Amber. ❤
Ok so another favorite character of mine here was Amani, Amber’s best friend and a precog, which means she can see glimpses of the future. I absolutely love the friendship between the two of them. I also like that Amani is a no-bullshit type of person. She lays out the truth for Amber even if she doesn’t like it. Plus, she also pleasantly surprised me, making me wish that she’ll get her own spin-off series.
I also love the urban setting of the story, which mostly takes place in Navy Pier, Chicago. Even though I have never been to Chicago, the setting felt vivid and familiar and maybe it has to do with the fact that Navy Pier is a real, actual place. (I GOOGLED) Also, it was the setting that mainly inspired the wonderful cover for The Best Kind of Magic. (See A Dream Within A Dream’s Cover Art Story here.)
On another note, I dislike the presence of some overused tropes here (high school drama & all that). I also found their hunt for Charlie’s soon-to-be-stepmom a bit boring. It also disappointed me that the BIG reveal wasn’t that big after all.
Overall, The Best Kind of Magic is a good read especially for teens. Or maybe if you are just looking for a cute romance with a little bit of magic and great sense of humor, then this book is perfect for you. It really was good in some places but also bad in others. However, I still believe there will be a lot of development in the next book especially after that interesting turn of events during those last chapters.
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That’s all, Lovelies! Thanks for stopping by! 😉