An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

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“Magic, at its heart, starts with sacrifice. You have to give up something to get something, and because magic is big, with all that it allows you access to, what you give up has to be big. It has to be meaningful.”

Within New York City lies a world of magic, the Unseen World. It is open only to those with magical ability, but the degree of that ability varies from person to person. Every twenty years this magical world must participate in the Turning— a series of duels between established Houses, their champions and various challengers, with the winner gaining control of the Unseen World. However, the Turning has arrived early this time around and there is something strange happening in the Unseen World; the magic is weakening. Sydney has seemingly come out of nowhere and proven herself as a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the few people who know what is occurring and why, and is intent on winning control in order to destroy the existing system. Continue reading “An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (Screenplay/Movie)

img_3413“Jacob: Tell me — has anyone ever believed you when you told them not to worry?

Newt: My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.

Admittedly I don’t fan over everything that is related to the world of Harry Potter (HP). I absolutely love the seven books in the series, which were a big part of my childhood, but never felt the need to explore anything outside of that. The Fantastic Beasts movie, however, sounded like a lot of fun, and I liked the fact that while it is related to the HP world, it stands apart from it.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an original screenplay written by J.K. Rowling, which takes its title from a textbook used in the HP series. It tells the story of the author of the textbook, Magizoologist Newt Scamander and a time he visited New York for what was to be a brief errand. However, when three of his creatures escape from his magical case, it sets off a chain of events and a fantastical adventure.

I read the screenplay prior to watching the movie (a slight spoiler, I know) and found I really enjoyed the screenplay format and the story itself was fun with a cast of compelling and charismatic characters. Most interesting was seeing which parts of the movie matched my vision/interpretation, and which ones didn’t. There are characters and scenes that I visualized and imagined in a particular way, and it was fascinating to see the way the actors approached their character along with certain scenes. I liked having the unusual experience of reading a screenplay and then seeing it all brought to life, and of course it is always fun to spend some time in this magical world.

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

BLOG‘There is magic everywhere, if you look carefully.’

Mexico City, 1988: Fifteen year old Meche is an awkward, unpopular girl in school who loves music and math.  She spends most of her time with her two best friends Sebastian and Daniela.  Life is not ideal for the three friends with each of them dealing with different struggles, from family problems to unfulfilled desires. They learn they can use music to cast spells and set out to better their circumstances, attempting to use magic to turn things around in their favour.

Mexico City, 2009: Meche is a successful computer programmer in Oslo, Norway. She has returned to Mexico City after twenty years away to attend her estranged father’s funeral, and is faced with the past and everything she had long left behind, including her two friends.

Signal to Noise is a wonderfully charming and engaging debut novel from author Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  It alternates between 1988 and 2009 and does so seamlessly. Both time periods are equally compelling and complement each other very well, moving the narrative forward.  It is a story about friendship, hope, love, the magic of music, and dreams of youth.  The challenges and disappointments of adulthood and recapturing what has been lost.  It is a touching story that will make you smile and tear up in the best way.  Moreno-Garcia presents a beautifully written novel with memorable characters that is captivating from beginning to end.

Playlist for “Signal to Noise” created by the author.

Favourite quote: “They folded and kept their dreams in the same drawer, spun fantasies side by side, lived in the easy harmony of youth which did not know the need for tall walls and sturdy defenses.”