The Opposite of Magic by Colleen Cowley

The Opposite of Magic


Emily Daggett’s childhood dream of finding a wizard, becoming extraordinarily powerful and battling evil is belatedly coming true. In the most screwed-up way possible.

First off, the wizard’s all wrong. Alexander Hartgrave is a thirty-year-old IT worker instead of a silver-haired mage, and he’s dead-set against playing the proper role of helpful mentor.

Worse, he thinks Emily’s extraordinary, all right — because she’s uniquely incapable of doing magic.

When adventure overtakes her despite (or rather because of) her oddity, she has to start seeing fantasy like a cold-eyed realist, and fast. Otherwise, her bookish expectations about good and evil will get her, Hartgrave and a lot of other people killed.


Hmm...this was an interesting read for me. I enjoyed the book and the story, but it read like a children's book for me. Not sure that is what the author meant, but it was good, just unexpected and so I kept having issues with the story. I kept forgetting that Emily is supposed to be older. I remember in the middle of the book she yells how she is 26 and I thought wait what? Really? I kept thinking she lived at home and was an early teenager. Not that she was an adult, living on her own with a college degree and teaching. I am not that much older than her, but man she did not seem her age at all. And it was not just the child like wonder and amazement with magic. It was just how she acted. I am basically a big kid myself, but I don't really act like a you can still tell I am an adult (though if you come in my house most people assume I have kids...which I don't and when they find out they look at me why all the toys then?). So I get the child-like aspect she should have, but she just came off like a child to me.

It is not that I didn't like Emily, though she did get on my nerves at times with how immature she was. If she could have done the same things in a different way and I wouldn't have been as annoyed by them. She is very naive and very....she wants her way all the time. Hartgrove didn't want to teach her about magic, but she just keeps pestering him until he gives in somewhat. She could be a bit annoying at times, but she was not all bad. I did enjoyed her wonder of magic and if this was a children's book and was younger then I think she would be a great character. As an adult she just didn't make sense to me so I had some issues trying to resolve that in my mind. 

Hartgrove was fun. I liked how grumpy he was, how he always egged Emily on and riled her up. I liked how he felt responsible for some horrible things that had happened so he was trying to right the wrongs. I enjoyed reading him, though the end where he tells Emily a sort of lie was a bit much. I didn't understand why Emily was dead set on that sort of lie (not really, but it kind of is) being something that makes her be unhappy forever, especially since she didn't get any details! It is obvious that if you knew Hartgrove he blames himself for a lot of things. It just seemed a bit much that she wouldn't even try and get the details and see it from his point of view. Again if she were much younger I would have just written this off to age, but she is older and it didn't make sense to me. It felt like she was just being a stubborn little kid.

As for the basic story I enjoyed it. I don't read many stories about magic and it was a fun read. Again there were parts where I was just like really? I also felt it was a bit simplistic and I just can't get the idea that it is a children's book out of my head. It is like the early Harry Potter books. I read them and could understand why everyone loved them so much, but they still read like children's books to me. They were kids books, but not written like the children were idiots so adults could read them as well. Good, but not amazing adult books. Does that even make sense? It is just a different category for me and while I enjoyed the story a lot it still was missing something to make it more grown up. I don't know. I enjoyed it, but have a hard time reconciling everything in my head.

Rating: 3/5


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