Impractical Magic
by Karen Fox, contemporary/paranormal (2003)
Jove (Magical Love), $5.99, ISBN 0-515-13536-4


The latest in Karen Fox's fae romance series sees the kids of two couples from her previous book now making babies together. It's like the Royal Household in England, I guess - everybody marries each other's cousin or equivalent. Unfortunately, in this case there is really little evidence of love between the two spoiled and silly main characters other than a supposed attraction that started when they were thirteen-year old kids. As if thirteen-year old kids know anything, oh please.

Brandon Goodfellow loves Rose Thayer, that is, until he learns that Rose is fae and hence immortal and magical. In a huff of envy, Brandon pretty much cuts off his relationship with Rose. Now, they are grown-ups (I use the last word very loosely). Brandon is a magician - the David Copperfield type, not Merlin - and Rose is a journalist who makes a career out of exposing the secrets of the best illusionists in the world.

Firstly, I'm not amused with a heroine who makes a career out of ruining other people's honest living. Secondly, Brandon acts like a complete brat. He is so rude to Rose when they meet again that I have to check and see if his age isn't fifteen. Then again, it is understandable to be rude to the person who has come to ferret your secrets, I guess. Brandon however spends all his time subjecting Rose to his petty whims because he is envious of her magic. He seems to have this ridiculous sense of self-entitlement when it comes to magic that his first demand for Rose to tag along is that she doesn't use her magic at all. And then there's his relationship with his magic-inclined father, whom he treats like dung because boo-hoo, junior boy here can't do magic, woo-hoo. The vineyards of Brandon's puny dingdong must bear plenty of sour grapes each harvest.

Rose not using her magic thus sees her doing a familiar "fish out of water" routine that often makes me wonder if her intelligence is powered by magic, magic that she is now forbidden to use. Oh, the trouble of having to do one's own laundry!

Their "love" is suspect, especially when Rose soon ends up trying to keep the green-testicle Brandon happy while placating him because oh, he has no magic, how sad. Brandon grows up a little late in the story, but by then, I don't really care anymore, not when he gets his magic and of course, now he's ready to love. Yeah, I'd buy that. There's a secondary romance between a woman named Sequoia and a fae named Ewan, which is a little more interesting. Then again, even a pot of mold is more interesting that the green-testicle monster and the nitwit who loves him.

Impractical Magic doesn't suffer from its namesake as much as from main characters who remain in stasis in a state of mental non-development, a result of the magic of lackluster plotting and character development.

Rating: 51


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