Review: Stealing Magic

Cover © Random House Books for Young Readers

We’re all about guys here at TMCE Guys Read. I am here to serve you, guy reader. We won’t turn away girls from the blog, of course, and if they find our blog useful or interesting, that’s great. But here, we ooze guyness. Sticky, slimy, nasty-colored guyness.

There are some books that are marketed specifically to girls or specifically to boys. There just are. Boys don’t usually read the “girl” books (though in March you’ll find out that real men read Babymouse). It seems to be OK and common for girls to read “guy” books.

But then there are books that are kind of in between. They’re not just targeted at girls, and they’re not “guy” books. There are lots and lots and lots of books in this in between land. Most books exist there. If you read my review of Vanished over the summer, you know that I don’t necessarily review only “guy” books. I want you guys to find books that are fun and interesting, and I’m not that concerned about the gender of the main character, or the content, or whatever. If I think you guys might like it, I’ll review it here.

One thing that I think is very important to note: If you only read the “guy” books, you’re going to miss out on a lot of wonderful stories. That’s why I read everything!

Stealing Magic is the sequel to Marianne Malone‘s first book, The Sixty-eight Rooms, which I finished earlier this year (when we were riding the bus home from our Mt. Baker field trip). They are both about a boy and a girl, Jack and Ruthie, who live in Chicago. One of their favorite places is the Art Institute of Chicago, in particular the Thorne Rooms, a collection of sixty-eight miniature rooms depicting different time periods and places in world history. The first book is about a discovery of some particularly fantastic magic.

The second book, Stealing Magic, takes that fantastic magic and throws in an art thief, more magic, snippets of world history, elaborate traps, and apples. Like the first book, I found it to be a pretty enjoyable read. I think Mrs. Malone did a great job of expanding on her idea, giving the Thorne Rooms’ magic much more depth and history.

The only thing I didn’t like was not much of a biggie. Jack and Ruthie were just way too bold and brash this time around. They used their magic so many times when people could have seen them. They practically did get caught a couple times. It reminded me of Harry and Ron in The Chamber of Secrets. They totally should have gotten kicked out of Hogwarts for all the sneaking around and stuff they pulled in second year. Maybe it has something to do with the second book in a series? Because Jack and Ruthie went crazy with the risk-taking. It’s OK, though. It kept things exciting. Of course, I know kids seem to love this sort of thing in books. So maybe it’s a plus.

One thing that Stealing Magic, The Sixty-eight Rooms, and another new book from last year, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, have done for me is made me really interested in visiting some museums. As a kid, I went to a lot of museums. They were always cool, but I would go through them pretty quickly, just looking at displays and pictures and not really thinking much about them. Now, I want to go to the Art Institute of Chicago and check out these Thorne Rooms. I want to go to New York City and visit the museums featured in Wonderstruck. Not only are these books fun and entertaining reads, but they’re also great advertisements for the real life exhibits in these museums, and for museums, in general.

I liked both of the first two Sixty-eight Rooms books. Enough that I’ll probably read the third when it comes out. Mrs. B doesn’t have them in the library yet, so I’ll mention them to her as something to check out. The public library has the first one, and will probably get the second one soon.

I read a lot of books over winter break. How about you?

Keep reading!

Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure [Sixty-Eight Rooms #2]

By Marianne Malone

256 pages

Genre: Fantasy, time travel, magic, historical fiction

Source: NetGalley

This book releases on January 24, 2012.

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2 Responses

  1. I think this series would be good for guys. Chasing Vermeer is similar to this one, both in the level of action and in the inclusion of museums and a varied cast of characters. Have to love the time travel, too!

  2. I think so, too. It has some good mystery and suspense. It’s adventurous. Jack and Ruthie are good friends and great characters.

    Thanks for the comment, Ms. Yingling!

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