Magic Lessons

by Justine Larbalestier

In Magic or Madness (Razorbill/Penguin, 2005) fifteen-year-old Reason Cansino discovered... read more

In Magic or Madness (Razorbill/Penguin, 2005) fifteen-year-old Reason Cansino discovered that she is a witch. Now, in Magic Lessons, Reason’s training begins in earnest. Under the tutelage of her grandmother, Esmerelda, Reason and her friends Tom and Jay-Tee are learning about the way magic works. Magic is a remarkable gift, but not a limitless one; use it up too quickly and you die young. Jay-Tee is learning that lesson firsthand as her body begins to weaken. But rejecting the gift means going mad—that was the fate of Reason’s mother. It’s a perilous balance that’s all the more challenging to understand and maintain when forceful magic pulls Reason through the portal between Sydney, where she lives, and New York City, where she finds herself pursued by a powerful figure that she senses is part of her past. It is one of her ancestors—an ancient Cansino—whose magic feels all wrong to Reason. Evading him, she finds shelter with Jay-Tee’s older brother, Danny, and soon the two cannot deny their intense physical attraction. But the arrival of Reason’s grandfather, Jason Blake, who wants to use Reason’s magic in his own pursuit of power, sends her fleeing once again. This time she seeks out her ancient relative—drawn by a theory of Esmerelda’s and her own desperation: could this centuries-old being represent something other than evil? The answer is as complex and satisfying as the story itself in Justine Larbalestier’s fast-paced, riveting novel. Readers will be left eagerly awaiting the third and final volume of the trilogy. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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