When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is.
Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.
When I picked up my copy of Random Magic I only had a vague idea of what to expect and that was pirates, magic, and fantasy. I got those three things and more. Random Magic is what I like to call Alice Fantasy because it’s not exactly definable by genre, but at the same time comes across as being inspired by Alice in Wonderland; that sort of surreal setting where the world hasn’t the logic of our own reality, but a logic of the unreal, and is a story that will throw the unexpected at you and keep you thinking about it long after.
Although it is Alice inspired, Random Magic has its own merits, and is its own story. Alice from Alice in Wonderland does make an appearance and of course it’s something a reader is going to find memorable because Alice is so steeped in today’s pop culture and a memorable figure herself, but that doesn’t mean a story with an Alice feel is going to be about Alice (I can name one right off the top of my head, Resident Evil and I refer to the movie here, while not using the element of dreamscape, still has an Alice inspired element to it).
Straight away I found myself warming to Random Magic starting with the fact that it doesn’t use a dreamscape (such as Carroll did) to enter a world of magic and the unbelievable. There’s only so many dreamscapes or dreamworlds you should read in a lifetime, at least in my opinion, so you don’t get bored of them. Random Magic is also full of humour, warmth, curiosity, as well as being quite a playful story. At once it’s a fantasy world filled with magic, whilst other times it is also a light satirical of fairy tales, legends, and magic itself.
I’m not going on about character development like I usually would, although there are very well defined and intriguing characters who grow in this story, and I’m not going to go on about writing style either, as I usually would, because this is a story that leaves you reeling a little after reading it. Not only is it not a story to be defined by a clear cut genre, but it’s not one for typical dissection either. Sasha has the ability to inject fun into words whilst making it meaningful, creating a myriad of connections deeper than the surface, and also getting a chuckle out of me several times (something that can be hard to do).
I honestly don’t know what else to say about it except that it is a fun read, but is not light. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of lightness present, it’s not a dark story, but it’s not exactly light reading either. It’s something that I found hard to read all in one sitting, not because I was bombarded and nauseated with the surreal at all, but because it’s not your usual magic fantasy. If I knew someone who was to read it, I’d tell them to take their time and going into it not expecting anything in particular. It’s a story that shouldn’t be judged or pigeonholed just by hearing about it or seeing its cover (come on, admit it, we all do that), but purely picked up and read for the experience of it.
It is one of those stories you have to read to understand what someone else is on about, to appreciate the connections, and decide and define for yourself what you make of it.
- Genre: Alice Fantasy (basically it’s surrealism)
- Demographic: Not those who see everything in black and white, have no sense of humour, and no fun. You probably won’t like it.
- Rating Out of Five: 4*
- Format: Paperback Novel received, with many thanks, via the author as part of the Random Magic Tour: Pirates!
- Find At: Amazon