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This Just In: Magical Alice Hoffman Still Writes Magically Or, Review of The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic 0)

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★★★★✬  4.5 stars

You might have been able to tell from my headline that I really love Alice Hoffman’s writing. I started this year by reading Faithful and was insta-fanned right away (Yes, I just invented that word.) I also read Practical Magic in preparation for reading The Rules of Magic, and although I could feel it was written a while ago and wasn’t quite the same vibe, my love for Hoffman’s amazing prose only grew.

The topic matter? I believe we don’t have the need for me to sum it up here, do we? Most of you will have heard of the book and probably seen the movie. I love this story in either of its forms. Witches, jinxes, family history, mystery… It’s all so delicious. Just the kind of topics I like. In this book though, we follow the lives of the Owens’ family before the heroines of Practical Magic are born, and what’s interesting – this time it’s not only the girls! We have a male Owens to read about, and he’s a great character. If you’ve read the first book, you will be pleasantly surprised not only to learn more about the family history, the town’s history or their traditions, but to actually find out more about the story of Sally and Gillian – the girls from Practical Magic.

Those who know the struggle of the Owens’ family – to never find love, and if they do, to lose it the worst way imaginable, will not be surprised by the fact that this is the main theme here as well. However, it’s not a book of love stories. As many of Hoffman’s books, The Rules of Magic talks more about finding oneself, about forgiving oneself, about facing one’s demons and one’s true identity. Identity is questioned a lot, and I was surprised to find that it’s not only questioned traditionally. I don’t want to include spoilers, but let’s just say that this book is more diverse than I expected.

Another great thing about The Rules of Magic and the main reason why I liked it more than Practical Magic was that it didn’t have the ‘beauty wins love’ vibe that I didn’t like about the first book. In Rules of Magic, you deserve love whether you’re pretty or just plain. Everyone deserves love. And what’s more, they deserve the kind of love they want. And they must fight for their love, because only something worth fighting for is true, and it can’t come easy. There is also no insta-lovey fated love anymore – in this book, love is just what it is – the connection of souls, something more undying than everything else. I hope Hoffman doesn’t mind me judging her through her writing like that, and I do believe it’s probably not my place – but for what it’s worth, I would dare to say that I can sense the maturity in this book, the change in how she herself saw the world then and now. It’s amazing to see this change of the world she wanted to build for those characters and these ones. It’s like a living book.

Ultimately, Alice Hoffman ponders: is being fated to lose everyone you love the Owens’ curse, or is it just being human? What if it is just another inevitability of life, just as how it ends when your time comes and you lose your own self? Mix that with a few potions, a few sprigs of lavender, a few animal familiars, and you’ve got a recipe for a great book. So it’s not really big news that Alice Hoffman still writes magically, but I’ll say it anyway.

I thank Alice Hoffman and Simon & Schuster for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read anything by Alice Hoffman? And do you like reading about witches, the different and the mysterious?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

30 thoughts on “This Just In: Magical Alice Hoffman Still Writes Magically Or, Review of The Rules of Magic

  1. Beautiful post, Evelina! I re-discovered Hoffman after reading ”Faithfull (I wasn’t too impressed with ”Practical Magic”, I confess) and now I am eagerly waiting for ”The Rules of Magic”. Plus, I have the majority of her works on my list:)

  2. I liked the movie. I thought that it was fun. I have not read the book. It sounds good.

    Finding one’s identity shall forever fascinating writers and readers of ever genre out there.

  3. I’ve seen this author around and was pretty much convinced that there’s a solid fanbase behind her books. I definitely enjoyed reading your review as it highlighted her strengths and I’m really fascinated by how many different themes/ideas are explored in this one book alone. Fantastic review! 🙂
    Lashaan Balasingam recently posted…Blackwing by Ed McDonaldMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Lashaan! This author hasn’t been translated to my language at all, although she has written a lot of books – so I’ve only discovered her this year. That’s why I’m still so enthusiastic 🙂 I can’t recommend extensively cause I’ve only read two books by her, but her writing style IS mesmerizing. You should read some book of hers one day 🙂

  4. I actually hadn’t heard about this book before? And it’s going to be a movie? What planet have I even been on O.o Anyway, this was a brilliant review and you totally have me convinced that this is one worth me reading. I especially like the sound of all the themes it covers, about identity and finding yourself. I think a lot of people (me included) will really be able to relate to those messages.
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Top 10: Things I Learned from Reading Every DayMy Profile

    1. Awwww, thank you 🙂 actually, I don’t know if this one is going to be a movie – but the one that came before it WAS a movie in the 90s, a lot of us saw it in our teens of childhoods. This book is a prequel to the one that was made into a movie. The movie is really worth a watch BTW, called Practical Magic if you’re interested 🙂
      I hope you get to read it! It’s a standalone, you don’t have to read the one that came before to read this. Especially because this one is so much better 🙂

  5. For the record, I have read this post at least twice. I am sure it was on my phone at work and so I just starred it and meant to some back later and comment. Sorry it took me a few days (here I am…tada!).
    I am so glad to see you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I did like meeting the male Owen character, I was sure there would only be females in this book. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!
    Karen Blue recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up #142My Profile

    1. For me, Practical Magic wasn’t as good as all the others 🙂 but still good, just maybe not great! But I know what you mean 🙂 aside from that one, it’s just her voice that is so amazing.

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