Magic Below ~ by Laura J. Burns (Book Review)

Magic Below 4 Stars


Review copy received from NetGalley
This is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz. Perhaps the better explanation would be to say that it uses Oz as the setting and characters from the original Wizard of Oz books.
It was intriguing; I don’t believe that I’ve ever read any ‘Wizard of Oz’ retellings before this.
Now, I didn’t realize that this was a sequel to Bewitched in Oz until after I had been approved for a review copy. So I was a bit wary when I began to read. Now, a good sequel can be enjoyed as a standalone; it can be enjoyed by a reader even if the person has not yet read the previous books in the series. And so it was with ‘Magic Below’. I would say that approximately 50 pages of the book was a recap. However, the recap of the previous novel’s events were woven into the story so well that Magic Below’s events were still progressing even though readers were still being caught up with the timeline and details of the story. It flowed very well and seemed very natural; it was not at all boring. I didn’t feel like I was confused or missing vital pieces of the plot even though I hadn’t read Book 1.
The writing was pleasant; the novel was easy to read without being simple; it was well written without being difficult.
I enjoyed the plot; it flowed smoothly and was entertaining and engaging. I really liked the authors depiction of the merpeople and their world. These beings communicate differently than humans, and can sense thoughts and emotions. This seems to go really well with the water element to me, everything flowing and running together before separating again. It was a different and more creative portrayal of the mermaids than I normally see and I found it refreshing and believable.
There was a little bit of romance, and the main character had times when she wasn’t sure which guy she liked better. It was done in quite an innocent manner and there was nothing inappropriate about it, I just felt that the conflict that the main character had over this was unnecessary to the book and its plot, which would have been just as good without this element.
Overall, I found the book to be creative and entertaining. The overall mood was pleasing. It was somehow a relaxing read, even when the characters were in peril. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an original MG fantasy with a taste of adventure.

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