Random Magic Blog Tour Update
Here is my review, better late than never!
Author: Sasha Soren (one of the nicest people you could ever be asked to review a book by)
Release date: March 2010
Target audience: I'm not quite sure...
When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way the meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan.
Random Magic is unlike any other book I have ever read. I almost want to call it post-modernist although I probably don't have quite the proper understanding of what that is. Perhaps I should have concentrated more in those final lectures of my degree? Anyhow, what I really mean is that Random Magic is kind of like a piece of modern art. Some people will read it and be absorbed by its exuberant and hilarious details; it's twisting and digressing story. Some people will read it and think I should like this but I just don't understand it. Some people will read it and think yikes that's not for me! I've come to think of this book as similar to the art of Tracy Emin (although the subject matter couldn't be any more different if it tried).
Random Magic is story of Henry Witherspoon who gets transported into a magical world in the hunt for a lost Alice who has disappeared from wonderful. He meets an interesting and quirky companion in the form of Winnie who is a doodle witch. I really liked Winnie. She was definitely my favourite aspect of the book. She was well characterised in an unpredictable and kooky kind of way. I like kooky. The book follows their great adventure in search of Alice and all the frightening obstacles they come up against. I think the premise of this book is ideal for early tweens but the complex language wouldn't really work for that audience. Younger readers will be put off really early on by the use of such unfamiliar language and sadly I think Soren may be alienating her target audience by being so adventurous. Also, from my perspective as a children's librarian, I'm sure parents won't be happy seeing a younger tween reading some of the swearing but it is fairly mild.
I have to say I found the prologue really confusing. There were so many characters and voices introduced at once and story darted around so that I felt I couldn't keep up. This is an integral aspect of the novel - it's about constantly moving on to the next part of the adventure, meeting the next character, taking the next risk. It's the fastest paced novel I have ever read and I couldn't really keep up. It was Winnie who kept me grounded and helped me to understand the story.
Random Magic is brimming over with vivid imagery. It is a very visual book and would undoubtedly work well as a film. Visual representation of the characters we meet would aid understanding of the story as a whole. It would certainly work well for parodied characters based on well-known figures. In places it is laugh out loud funny. One of my favourite parts was when we meet the character Hyperbole - her name says it all. Nevermore was a great character too. The elegant description of the garden of the nine muses was simply beautfiul and is just one example of Soren complete realisation of her fantasy world.
Overall, I suggest you read this if you are looking for something challenging and willing to whole-heartedly live outside your comfort zone or you are a quirky, kooky, eccentric fantasy or Alice in Wonderland lover. At times, you may be like me surely discombobulated but you will also be in complete awe of Soren's imaginative powers.