Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Book Summary (from back cover)
Teenage Nola’s not much of a witch–she can work only a few useless spells, like the one that lets her spy on people by enchanting a bucket of water.
But there’s no spell for keeping her crazy mother–who hears voices and is a magnet for witch-hunters–out of trouble. Nola and her mother evade the authorities by traveling from town to town, taking odd jobs and moving on — until the day Nola magically witnesses a murder…
Which is bad enough, but worse is that the murderer may frame Nola and her mother for the crime. And then no amount of magic will save her.
My first love, as a kid, were fantasy novels set in other worlds or in a world suspiciously like medieval Europe. As I grew older, I moved and broadened my horizons, but I still have a weak spot for medieval based literature. This book sounded like something I’d like.
MAGIC CAN BE MURDER is a fast, cute read that fits the bill. I will be the first to admit, I read this while at home sick, so parts were probably lost on me. That being said, the book was well written and the murder portion was also well done. I enjoy the process of the medieval detective coming in and working with just their wits and questions because the didn’t have modern science to back them up. Nola was a likable character, and you couldn’t help feeling sorry for her a bit. A great deal of the book happens because she does things she thinks will help. She’s so paranoid about witch hunters, because her mother can’t quite keep it together, that she brings some of it on herself. Yet you can’t blame her for it.
The love story is well done, though I wish there had been a little more reaction at the end when he discovers her identity. It was a bit too easy for my taste, but it was still good, and still matched his character. The death at the end, which I will refrain from naming so I don’t spoil it, was a little far fetched. The mechanics of it sort of worked and yet still make me scratch my head.
All in all, if you enjoy medieval type fantasy and whodunits, you’ll enjoy this one.
Where to Find the Book
Book was purchased by reviewer.