The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
First Published: November 21st, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magicians, Friendship, Adventure
When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.
After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded kids. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.
Well this was cute.
It’s about Carter, a little boy whose parents disappeared a while ago, leaving him with an arrogant and egocentric uncle who uses him to steal from people.
Carter himself does not steal, because he believes in earning honest money even at his young age, but he is by association stealing nonetheless. At the same time, his uncle forces him to do his magic tricks that beguile people while he himself pickpockets the spectators.
Until one day Carter has had enough and decides to leave town. Where he goes, he meets young magicians who welcome him in their group. Together, they want to expose a villainous magician reminiscent of Carter’s uncle.
Carter is a sweetheart. I have a soft spot for orphans, having lost a parent myself. He is a good hero for a middle grade series, because he is relatable, courageous and has a strong sense of what is right versus what is wrong.
The story itself is fast-paced and contains adventure as well as quite a lot of magic, the characters having different magical abilities, or so it would seem. While there is no ‘‘real’’ magic, it often feels that way, because of how much Carter’s new friends believe in it.
Unfortunately, most of the characters are one-dimensional. While they are ‘’nice,’’ and pleasant to read about, they are not unique. Not much sets them apart from other characters I have read about, except for their magical abilities and almost all of their voices sound similar. Even Carter’s voice is not very loud, seeing that the narrator’s presence is felt at all times.
Maybe some will like that, given that it *is* Neil Patrick Harris’ voice heard through the narration, but personally I find that when the narrator’s presence is more important than the one of the hero/heroine, there is a problem.
Would still recommend for *young* readers. It’s a very entertaining story that I had no trouble finishing in a single day. It’s short and fast-paced, and while it’s true the characters need more depth and a stronger voice, at least they are relatable and a positive influence on middle grade readers.
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