RaeleighReads rating: 4 out of 5 coffee cups
“Leilani stumbled backwards two steps, and the Strains swelled to meet her like welcoming friends…”Don’t leave me again. I couldn’t bear it.””
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The one word that sums up this novel for me is sweet. I wish I had had something like this to read when I was in junior high or high school. I think it’s perfect for that age group.
Beggar Magic is a lovely little fantasy story set in a world with a rigid caste system of Highmost and Common people, both of whom can interact with magical elements they call the Strains, but the Common people interact with the Strains to a lesser extent. In this world of high and low, Zebedy and Leilani should never have become friends, but they did.
Friendship is the overarching theme here, and I enjoyed watching the very believable, and sometimes strained (pardon the pun), relationship between the two girls unfurl. Everything in this world was set against their friendship from the beginning, and their bond is continually tested throughout, yet somehow they manage to make it through all of this with their friendship intact. Again, I wish I and my junior high/high school girlfriends had had a story like this to read through together.
Besides the delightful friendship, the budding romantic relationships in this novel were tastefully done, and really very sweet. There is a definite innocence to Burke’s writing. Normally I find that very irritating, but I liked the way it was handled here. These main characters were young and not at all what I would call worldly, and so their treatment was light and innocent — just what was called for.
The pacing was perfect. I could have sped read this in a day if I wanted, but I enjoyed taking a few days, reading two or three chapters here and there. I would definitely recommend it to fantasy lovers and young adult enthusiasts. My only quibble was with the ending. After such a lovely, well-thought-out story we arrived at the climax and then things ended very abruptly. It left me wanting. Sad face.
Some other opinions you might be interested in:
“Beggar Magic is one of the most refreshing pieces of fiction that I have read in a while.”– Book Troll Real Escape on Goodreads
“This was good, but not great. Left me wanting to know more about the Strains. Maybe I needed to be a younger reader…“–Lkai on Goodreads