book review

Sorcery for Beginners by Matt Harry || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sorcery for BeginnersTitle: Sorcery for Beginners

( Codex Arcanum #1 )

Author: Matt Harry

Illustrator: Juliane Crump

Published: 10. October 2017.

Edition: Inkshares

Kindle Edition, 300 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Middle Grade | Magic


Five-hundred years ago, magic began to fade from the world. Combustion engines and computers took the place of enchanted plows and spell books. Sorcerers were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten…until now.

Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), Sorcery for Beginners is the true how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It’s also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long secret war when he uses this book to take on a school bully. But when Owen’s spell casting draws the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, he must decide how much he’s willing to risk to keep magic alive in the world.

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◄ 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I have quiet a few mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I enjoyed certain aspects of it, on the other some things frustrated me. I had no idea how to rate this book for the longest time. (I’m still conflicted with my rating, but we shall go with it.)

For some reason I couldn’t get into the writing of this book. First of all my ARC had some technical difficulties, where I couldn’t read everything properly – so that was frustrating, though not the actual books fault. (I’m sure that won’t be a problem in the finished copy.) Aside from that the writing didn’t impress me much, it was simply all right. The illustrations in the book were great and I really enjoyed seeing all the hand-movements for different spells.

The magic in this book was very interesting. This book is written like a guide to it (which you can guess by the full title of this book), and that made understanding all the concepts and how the magic works very easy. The story was interesting, but didn’t capture me completely. That was because I didn’t connect with any of the characters and that makes it hard for me to enjoy the story. Most of the time I just didn’t care, but then something really interesting would happen. As I already said, very mixed feelings about this book.

This book also deals with a heavy topic – the mom left the family at the beginning of the book. And the cast of characters is very diverse, racially that is. I can’t say anything about the representation for them as I don’t qualify for that.

A little rant incoming.

It’s not filled with spoilers, as what bothered me happened at the very beginning of the book.

I thought that Owen was too trusting. Who in the world trusts a girl he only met yesterday with a magic book he just discovered? (He only interacted with her for like 5 minutes.) This seriously bothered me! Like isn’t it common sense not to do that? You don’t even know her, or anything about her! (Aside that she likes historical stuff.) And then the girl brings him with her to her friends to research the book, people he has NEVER even seen before. This part seriously frustrated me! Sorry, but being too trusting is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to characters.

Rant over.

I think this book was just aimed at a much younger audience than I am. I do tend to enjoy middle grade books from time to time, but this one just didn’t seem to be for me. Overall it was an interesting book, but not one that blew me away. I would still recommend it, especially if you are looking for a gift for a younger reader. Personally I won’t be continuing with this series.

Have you read Sorcery for Beginners? What did you think of it?

Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have an amazing day!


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7 thoughts on “Sorcery for Beginners by Matt Harry || ARC Review

  1. I love middle grade books so much but I get that same feeling with many of them, that I just can’t get into the writing and I can never tell if that is because I am seriously too old for them or if they really aren’t good… It is so hard to tell, although I wonder sometimes if more skilled writers aim for older audiences because there is a lot more freedom…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love reading middle grade books from time to time and I have that problem sometimes as well. It’s hard to tell if those books aren’t good or you’re just too old for them. But generally I think I should be able to enjoy a story and it’s characters no matter at what age the actual book is aimed at. Well, there is a lot more freedom when writing for older audiences…


  2. I *completely* get what you mean about not relating to characters making it hard (if not impossible) to relate to a story- for me that’s what makes or breaks a book. I do like the idea of it being written as a guide to magic- it’s just a shame the writing was only alright. And yeah that definitely seems to trusting to me! Sounds like an alright read for younger readers-
    but yeah, I don’t think it’d be for me. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, characters are seriously the most important part of a story for me! If I don’t care about at least one of them, there is a high chance that I’m not going to like the book. It was definitely written in a unique way, it being a guide made understanding the magic and world very easy. Plus the illustrations helped with that as well! It seriously bothered me that he was that trusting!
      I agree, I would definitely recommend this one for younger readers. Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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