CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Bedard, Michael.

New York, Atheneum, 1987. 183pp, cloth, $20.95, ISBN 0-689-31342-X. Distributed by Collier Macmillan Canada.

Grades 5 to 7
Reviewed by Irene J. Karasick

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

The plot centres on a novel idea—three people find their lives in danger when a ghostly magician haunts them with visions of an extraordinary, deadly magic show he originally staged in 1936. A plot with such an unusual approach should keep the reader anxious to turn the page to find out what is going to happen next. But when I read this book, the anticipation of exciting events, suspenseful and scary, fell to a bottomless pit, when, instead of my hair's standing on edge, it limped and sagged as did my enthusiasm for this novel. The characters flip in and out of the story and leave the reader at something of a loss to know who is doing what. Does "she" refer to Miss Potts, or was someone else introduced that I missed? There seems to be some fuzziness in the writing style, although Bedard handles the real and the fantastic in a reasonable manner.

The story begins with a common situation in a household where young children get on the nerves of the older sibling and the mother tries to escape the bedlam. Emily is one of the older siblings. The magic is introduced through the teacher, Miss Potts, and the appearance of a handbill that she cannot understand. Emily is drawn into the plot as Miss Potts' confidante. Emily's little brother becomes the "reason to be." The baby brother seems to be included in the plot at various times when there is a reason for Emily to be in a certain place at a certain time. She can run after the baby and arrive where she must, or take him for a walk and "accidently" come to a particular place. Contrivance?

Although there are a variety of events and characters, A Darker Magic, with its lack of clarity and cohesiveness, often leaves the reader in the dark as to what is happening and makes this somewhat of an indifferent read. It is a book I could put down easily.

Irene J. Karasick, Winnipeg, Man.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works