by Sasha Soren
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 he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is. Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.
When I first started Random Magic, I was pretty enthused. I'd been chatting with the author, and her emails were hilarious and scattered in a fun, quirky way, and the book seemed much like those emails. It was quirky and scattered and absurd and random for sure, and I look a good bit of quirky/absurd/random in my life. (quirksurdom?) The book was more sort of a series of weird little vignettes that were connected by this search for Alice (of Wonderland fame), and for about 1/3 of the book, I was willing to go along with it. Things were funny, I was enjoying myself, and though there was always a part of me that said this is certainly not a book for everyone, I did think it was the right book for me.
But apparently it's about 1/3 the book for me, because as much as I enjoy random quirky weirdness, at some point, I just wanted to get to it already. The vignettes started to feel too drawn out and, well, random, and though they were always funny on their own, with so many piled together, one on the next on the next on the next, it just got to be too much. The frenetic zaniness was really fun in the beginning, but by the middle I was just wishing for some restraint. It was like everything that was in Soren's head -- every. little. thing. -- made it to the page, and though each of those things was a fun little gem, it was a few gems too many. Save some for the next necklace, this one's weighing me down.
So it's kind of a weird one for me to review. I liked what I read, but I wanted to stop reading...
I just wanted to have some sense of where it was going; I wanted an end in sight, some idea that there was plotting involved, planning and forethought and not just "sit down and write, and whatever happens, happens." I think I could have found this truly enjoyable if there had been some restraint, if Soren had saved some of the antics and vignettes for another book, and instead focused on making the ones in this one fewer but stronger. But it is a fun read, if at times overwhelming, and there are certainly those who like it quite fine as is.
[check out vvb32 reads or the "Winterlong" Random Magic Tour for more]
Here's my teaser:
and here's the book trailer: