Stereotypes, Witches, and Chicago - The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari Review

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The Best Kind of Magic Review

Magical Realism has been getting lots of love from the YA community recently, and for good reason too. It's the perfect balance, normal life with a dash of mythical. The Best Kind of Magic is without a doubt magical realism, it's set in a version of Chicago with a secret magical community. Many different types of magical creatures live among the city's human population, including: witches, who are at the very top of the magical food chain, goblins, fairies, leprechauns, vampires, precogs, etc.

Synopsis & Details:

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five read more... seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

Title: The Best Kind of Magic
Series: Windy City Magic #1
Author: Crystal Cestari
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult,
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Disney-Hyperion!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Our main character, Amber, is a matchmaker, a skill which ranks pretty low on the magical hierarchy.

Basically, she can look into anyone's eyes and determine who their true love is. It's not uncommon for people to come to her to find out whether or not the person they're dating is "the one", in fact, it's practically a daily occurrence.

As you can imagine, when the answer is no, these people tend to respond rather negatively, lashing out at both Amber and her abilities. At the start of the novel, she has little sympathy for them, but as the story goes on, she gains insight and starts to understand their reactions more. I really appreciated this aspect of her character development, and I think it added a lot to her character and the book as a whole.

Amber's a pretty snarky narrator, and while that does make the story much more enjoyable, there were a couple times when I felt like she was almost border-line mean....

It's just, some of the things she thought and said left me with a bad taste in my mouth (well, then again, it's not exactly like I can really say anything about having a sharp tongue, I'm a pretty blunt snarkfest myself in real life).

As mentioned above, there's no shortage of magical species in The Best Kind of Magic, and most of their introductions included at least one or two stereotypes, typically negative ones. While it was noted several times that characters didn't necessarily have to live up to the stereotypes their species afforded them, ultimately, I was uncomfortable with the immediate assumptions Amber made of some of the characters due to their species.

Overall, my favorite part was definitely the romantic plotline.

I know *gasp*, haha I never say that, but this one's pretty unique. It's not the standard love story I've come to expect, I didn't immediately know how it was gonna end (something which is sadly not very common in YA these days). The romantic plotline had me clamouring for the next book in the series the moment I finished the last page.

Some Cover Thoughts:

The Best Kind of Magic's cover represents the story rather well and nicely evokes that Magical Realism feel, but (here I go again...) I'm just not a fan of the title font. I know, I know, I'm forever harping about the title font, but I can't help it, I never seem to be quite satisfied by it. Don't get me wrong, I adore the tag line and how it curves with the buildings, but the title and the author's name, just no....

Rating: 3/5 Stars

What magical creature would you be? Also, are stereotypes okay if they're about magical creatures, and not, say, race?
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About Crystal Cestari
With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world. My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

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