Book Review

The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5/5 stars)

The Magic Misfits are back in their final act, but will they take a bow at the end? After a tumultuous summer with the nefarious Kalagan stirring up chaos, ultimately resulting in the destruction of Vernon’s Magic Shop, the Magic Misfits have been forced to meet in the shadows. This time, we take a journey through Ridley’s eyes, as she tries to thwart Kalagan’s plans one last time as well as mend the ties between her friends and her family. In a fun, high-stakes finale, filled with the magic of friendship and transformative word, embark on the Magic Misfits’ finale as they question everything they know.

Throughout the entire series, we have seen Ridley as the hard-headed, tough-as-nails, loyal friend. Now, in the finale, we get to see her in full; she is terrified of losing her friends and family, particularly to herself. She is constantly battling her inner turmoil, trying to mediate her personality, while also holding to her convictions. Children need to see this: not every hero is perfect. As truths unravel in Mineral Wells, that made even more pertinent. Things aren’t always as they seem. While many things seemed to come together by coincidence, Kalagan’s influence has been there throughout the whole story, playing each piece, one at a time, to bring our misfits together.

But even those we trust might not be trustworthy. Ridley knows this, and even if the truth hurts, she’ll stop at nothing to make sure her friends understand. Without Ridley, the Misfits might not have taken a final bow. They might have succumbed to Kalagan’s influence.

But they also could never act alone. Neil Patrick Harris has painted this group as equals; no matter their strengths and weaknesses, without each other, Kalagan might have won. While Kalagan is cunning, with multiple twists up his sleeves (one of which I anticipated, but the other I did not), he cannot win against such a close and important group of magical children.

In a satisfying conclusion to the series, we see all these pieces come together. Each child gets the chance to shine. But I think what is even more important about this book is Ridley. The fact that she is in a wheelchair is never seen as an inconvenience or an annoyance to her or her friends. She is strong, smart, and resourceful. There are important accommodations made by her friends, but never as a burden. Children need this…and adults do too: no one is a burden.

In fact, Ridley’s insecurities come more from her behavior. Is she too harsh? Too mean? Is she going to end up like her workaholic mother? What is left unsaid is more important than what is said, proving one heavy point: Ridley is a child just like any other.

Ultimately, this story is about trust. Everyone keeps secrets, but a secret should never cause someone to be misdirected. If a secret is such a burden, you lay the grounds to be manipulated by a man such as Kalagan. In the end, if you want your friendships to thrive, have trust in each other. It’s essential.

The Fourth Suit is a satisfying conclusion to a fun, but also heartwarming, story about a group of magical misfits. I highly recommend, whether young or old, you take a journey with the group. I am sure Carter, Laila, Theo, Ridley, Izzy, and Ollie would be happy to have you.

What’s it about?

Ridley Larsen is everything you want in a friend. She’s tough as nails, she’s fiercely loyal, and she’s smart as a whip. But she can be a harsh critic, which has put her position with the Magic Misfits on the rocks, even as the threat of the group’s longtime enemy Kalagan looms large. Ever since his recent appearance in Mineral Wells, the kids know that a showdown with the vicious magician is imminent.

They must first deal with a series of odd instances and random attacks, though, all of which they use to bring themselves closer to discovering where Kalagan may be hiding, and the nature of his true identity. But can Ridley finally master her temper and put her essential magical skills to good use? She’ll do anything to protect her friends, and when the time comes, she’ll find that the Magic Misfits are strongest when they all work together.

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this finale of the unique and surprising series. Whether you’re a long-time expert at illusion or simply a new fan of stage magic, hold on to your top hat

Book Review

The Magic Misfits: The Minor Third – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)

The talent show is approaching, but tensions between the Magic Misfits are high. With Callaghan’s threat on the horizon, Theo Stein-Meyer feels the stress between his friends. They’re constantly bickering, and when a famous ventriloquist arrives, and a girl named Emily asks to spend time with their little group, the Magic Misfits are threatened to be torn apart.

In the third book, we once again join the Magic Misfits. But things aren’t quite so magical with them. They keep arguing and disagreeing, and their tensions are clearly high. Theo desperately wants to be the peace keeper between his friends, and with his oldest friend, Ridley, constantly triggering the disagreements, it leaves him between a rock and a hard place. It doesn’t help that everything is colliding at the same time: his siblings want him to participate in their talent show act, he’s experiencing his first crush, and there is a ventriloquist setting up creepy dummies throughout town. But these tensions are necessary; friendship isn’t always completely happy. There will be fights, and this will show children that sometimes fights are OK. In fact, they might even be healthy to keep the friend group stronger.

This book deals with some darker prospects that the previous book: there’s a devious villain, disturbing ventriloquists and dummies, and betrayal that was not evident in the previous books. Once again, Neil Patrick Harris has woven a tail that is both entertaining and engrossing, for adults and children alike! Each piece that led to the twist is constructed in detail, and I am sure once the identity of the notorious Callaghan is revealed, all the pieces will come together.

Yet, with the tensions, some of the magic is lost. The conflicts are constantly in repeat, as arguments among friends often are, which became tedious in parts. Overall it doesn’t detract from the story, but I think having a falling out and seeing them come back together slowly might have led to less repetition. But…that isn’t always happens in the real world.

I really do recommend this series to both adults and children alike. It is so much fun, with a wide array of diversity and characters. Mostly anyone will be able to connect with these misfits.

That being said, I am eagerly awaiting the last installment in September! I’ve already preordered the audio book and I am so excited!

What’s it about?

Theo Stein-Meyer loves being part of the Magic Misfits. Armed with his trusty violin bow, he completes the team with his levitation skills, unflappable calm, and proper manners. But when a girl named Emily begins to spend time with the group, Theo is surprisingly drawn to her. She seems to understand the pull he feels between music and magic, between family and friends.

Then a famous ventriloquist arrives in town, and the Misfits are sure he (and his creepy dummy) are up to no good. With their mentor, Mr. Vernon, suddenly called away and tension simmering among the friends, can they come together to stop another member of the villainous Emerald Ring? It’s time for Theo to make a choice about where–and with whom–he belongs.

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this unique and surprising series. Whether you’re a long-time expert at illusion or simply a new fan of stage magic, hold on to your top hat!

Book Review

The Magic Misfits: The Second Story – Book Review

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!

Book Review

The Magic Misfits – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

As people get older, magic often loses it spark. This is the case for Carter. After his parents “disappear” in their final vanishing act, Carter is forced onto the streets with his distant Uncle Sly. But life with Sly is short of being wonderful and magical; no, it’s obscene and heart-wrenching. When Carter has enough, he flees, and hops on a train to the town of Mineral Wells. While this town is every Carter has dreamed of, there is something rotten afoot with a group of carnies heralded by B.B. Bosso. Can Carter and his new friends foil Bosso’s plans?

In a fun, enchanting novel written by actor Neil Patrick Harris, we are shipped off into Carter’s journey not only to escape his uncle, but also to rediscover his love and passion for magic. Is magic real, or is it all a trick? That is for you as the reader to decide. But, this story is magical all the same. Each character is so uniquely defined, that both children and adults will find themselves drawn into this book. While Carter is the typical protagonist, you have the elusive Mr. Vernon, his daughter the adventurous Leila, and her friends, the kindhearted Theo, skeptical Riley, and the twin comedians Otto and Izzy. Each one pulls you into the story, and you’ll be cheering for them to out B.B. Bosso at the end.

While the story itself is mostly predictable, as most children’s stories are to adults, the way Harris provides a diverse cast, likable characters, and an intriguing plot about magic, trickery, and friendship makes this story all the better. Listening to this as an audio book really brought it to life as well; Neil Patrick Harris is a performer, and if you are familiar with him you know he cannot only just act, he can sing and enchant the imagination. That being said though, even if you read the book, I think you will still be captivated by the storytelling.

I cannot wait to get my hands onto the other books in the series! I listened to it all in one day, and I have no doubt I’ll feel the same about the remaining books.

So whether it is you or your kids who need a little bit of magic, why not join this band of misfits? You won’t be sorry.

What’s it about?

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

(Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story–you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)