Review of The Opposite of Magic by Colleen Cowley

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a free copy of this book by the author for review purposes. The only thing I promised was an honest review. All of my reviews, good or bad, are based on my personal opinion.

I quite enjoyed this book. It is a fast-paced, light, fun, fantasy story.

It is set on a college campus in Iowa, but it could be almost any small Midwestern town, the kind where most people would proudly proclaim that it was a peaceful spot and nothing truly exciting would ever happen here, of all places.

Emily, the main character, is a history professor who has always secretly wanted magic to be real. When she finds out that magic is real, but she doesn’t have the ability to use it, she is miffed, to say the least.

What ensues is a very entertaining read. The scene about the faculty meeting made me laugh out loud. The first few meetings between Emily and Hartgrave, when he is fixing her computer, are priceless for their evocation of so many IT people whom I know.

The only reason I didn’t end up reading this book in one sitting is that sleep is a necessary evil.

That being said, I normally review fantasy or science fiction books, so here are a few things for those non-romance readers out there.

Lois McMaster Bujold once wrote an essay about SF/Fantasy and Romance crossover novels. The main idea that stuck in my brain was that if you could take the protagonists and put them in a different setting with only background changes, it was mainly a romance. If you could not, if the world-building was integral to the story, then it was basically a fantasy (or SF) novel with a romance as part of the plot.

I believe The Opposite of Magic meets the second definition.

If you don’t mind a bit of romance with your magic, I think you will enjoy this book.

If you are a fantasy fan who seriously dislikes romance with your tale, this is probably not the book for you.

One final thought. I found Emily to be a bit annoying at times during the first few chapters. I empathized more with Hartgrave. She grows on you. Just keep reading.


I give it 4 stars.

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