Review of ‘Magic Dark and Strange’

Magic Dark and Strange may be short, but the pacing drags the story out, making it feel underdeveloped all around.

Pacing and Storytelling

magic dark and strange

Magic Dark and Strange
Kelly Powell
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Considering the novel’s length and what the novel is about, I was expecting a faster-paced novel. It is said to be like The Bone Witch and Sherlock Holmes, with magic that brings back the dead and a mystery revolving around a magical time peace everyone seems to want. However, the novel makes the reader want more as it barely delivers magic, fantasy, and mystery.

Now, the story takes place in Invercarn, a place reminiscent of Victorian England. The description of the place is well done. It might be too well done because as I was reading, I forgot that this was not Victorian England, leading it to be a little distracting. There was this question of whether or not magic was well-known in this setting, which twisted up my perception while I was reading the novel.

Moreover, there was an air of mystery surrounding her magic, the ability to wake the dead for an hour. This is also part of why I had trouble losing myself in the story and why I had trouble getting lost in the setting. Again, early I was unsure of whether her magic was a secret or not. The answer is both yes and no. It is a secret because it does cost her an hour of her life, but it is not secret because she is magic. There are others in the story with magic; readers do not get to see enough of it.


The characters themselves are also not engaging enough. Catherine herself is forgettable. She has a bland personality as she tries to figure out this mystery of Owen’s death and her employers. She can be better, be engaging, with an exciting job and power, but overall, she lacks vitality.

The same can be said for Guy. He is boring. They both are, lacking any sort of depth, emotion, and personality that would have made them engaging. Even with the apparent romance forming between them, it lacks passion.

There is nothing about the characters that makes them worth reading or being invested in. They exist to move the story along.

Final Thoughts

Magic Dark and Strange had promise. However, it would have benefited being longer to give more dimension to the characters, ground the reader in the storytelling, and make the mystery more engaging.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: October 27, 2020
Page Count: 208ppAge Range: 12 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-5344-6608-1Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry BooksList Price: $18.99

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