Sorcery for Beginners: A Simple Help Guide to a Challenging & Arcane Art

Matt Harry, illus. by Juliane Crump. Inkshares, $10.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-942645-68-9
Thirteen-year-old Owen Macready is heartbroken when his parents separate, and his mother leaves for Sumatra to help endangered orangutans; moving from Ohio to the sizzling deserts of Nevada with his father doesn’t help. While fleeing from bullies one day, Owen runs into a strip mall shop called the Codex Arcanum, where the proprietor, Ms. Euphemia Whitmore, offers him a book titled Sorcery for Beginners and a chance to become a sorcerer candidate. Owen agrees, but only so he can learn a spell to rewrite history and get his mother back. The sweet-natured Perry Spring and her medievalist friends in the Society for Creative Anachronism at his school make learning sorcery fun, but keeping the book away from the Euclideans—who seek to destroy magic—and an unscrupulous casino owner is no easy task. The book’s inventive format incorporates spellbook elements, including engraving-style illustrations, droll sidebars, and spell instructions, though Owen himself can often be eclipsed by sprightly Perry and her diverse group of friends. Even so, it’s a charming package and a drily funny adventure. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/25/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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