Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)
Leila has been enjoying life ever since her fathers adopted her. She has a group of magical best friends – Carter, Theo, Ridley, Izzy, and Ollie – and better yet, she lives above a magic shop! This is everything she could have dreamed of as one of the Magic Misfits! But, when a psychic comes to town and begins unveil her father’s past, Lelia is caught in a whirlwind of secrets that makes her question who she is and where she belongs. As new dangers work their way into her personal life, it threatens to expose her secret…and maybe lose her family and friends in the process.
Once again, we are whisked away by Neil Patrick Harris’s storytelling (even if the narration is performed this time by actress Christina Hendricks). Hendricks does a phenomenal job with the audio book, but it did lack of the charm that Harris put into the first one. This could be due to some of the elements in the first book such as the barber shop quartet and other musical elements, as well as Harris’s ability to pull off different voices. That being said, Hendricks still did fantastic job getting us into Leila’s head versus the first book with Carter.
The story itself is another enjoyable ride, this time not just observing magic, but examining how cruel circumstances leave someone with lasting trauma. We explore Leila as she holds tight to secrets of who her birth parents were, as well as her anxiety and frustrations over her father’s own secrets. Her friends are her rock though, and through all her frustrations, they are there each in their own ways: empathetic Carter, blunt but loyal Ridley, compassionate Theo, and the joking twins Izzy and Ollie. While even at the end, Leila is still keeping her secrets, she knows then that she has her friend’s ears. And that is the lesson, overall, in this story: your friends are there for you, through thick and thin.
This story was slightly less magical than the first. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. We already met all these characters, so the initial excitement has waned. Instead, we’re diving deeper into who they are as individuals. The first book let us meet them through Carter’s eyes, experience the excitement, and ride with it. In this second book, Leila has already been surround by magic for years, so instead we are in a quest for self discovery instead.
While the book does ride on some tropes that have been done before (such as in the musical Annie), it didn’t hinder my enjoyment. In fact, I didn’t even anticipate the twist at the end of the book until Leila started to consider it. I thought something completely different about one of the key characters (who I won’t give away), and while some of my hunches were correct, the last one was a pleasant surprise.
I also appreciate, while all these books could be read as a stand alone (which kids will enjoy), there is an underlying plot taking place that older children and adults will enjoy. As the pieces fall together, I am excited to see what mischief these misfits get into next.
So I guess it’s onto the next audio book for me!
What’s it about?
Growing up in an orphanage, Leila was bullied for being different. She turned her hardship into skill by becoming an escape artist–a valuable trait when you belong to a group of magical best friends. But when a famous psychic comes to town, Leila and her pals can’t escape the big mystery heading their way. Whether chasing mad monkeys or banishing ghosts from haunted hotels, these six friends will do their best to keep their home of Mineral Wells safe–but can they protect themselves?
Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this delightful new series. Whether you’re a long-time expert at illusion or simply a new fan of stage magic, hold onto your top hat!