When I read the summary of Mister Magic, I was intrigued. Immediately, my favorite childhood show, Barney, sprung to mind. I think when you read the summary your favorite show will come to mind because it's centered around imagination, innocence, and fun. 

However, you soon learn that's not the case...but nothing is as it seems in the town of Bliss, where Mister Magic was filmed. 

I thought Mister Magic was going to be a favorite of the year for me but it missed the mark; I did not love this book as much as I thought I would because of ultimately, how the book ended. I didn't hate this book, but didn't love it. You kind of have to know what you're going to get yourself into with this novel, and that's why I'm writing this review, even though it's not 100% glowing. 

Publisher's Summary

Thirty years after a tragic accident shut down production of the classic children’s program Mister Magic, the five surviving cast members have done their best to move on. But just as generations of cultishly devoted fans still cling to the lessons they learned from the show, the cast, known as the Circle of Friends, have spent their lives searching for the happiness they felt while they were on it. The friendship. The feeling of belonging. And the protection of Mister Magic.  

But with no surviving video of the show, no evidence of who directed or produced it, and no records of who—or what—the beloved host actually was, memories are all the former Circle of Friends has. 

Then a twist of fate brings the castmates back together at the remote desert filming compound that feels like it’s been waiting for them all this time. Even though they haven’t seen each other for years, they understand one another better than anyone has since. 

After all, they’re the only ones who hold the secret of that circle, the mystery of the magic man in his infinitely black cape, and, maybe, the answers to what really happened on that deadly last day. But as the Circle of Friends reclaim parts of their past, they begin to wonder: Are they here by choice, or have they been lured into a trap? 

My Thoughts

I wanted to love this book because the premise was so interesting; a TV show that was canceled but then something brings the cast back together? The summary sounded better than what the book actually turned out to be, but I don't think it was a total waste of a read.

The first half of the book was incredibly compelling and thrilling; you were trying to figure out what actually happened back on the set of Mister Magic, and what was being hidden from Val or rather, what she couldn't remember.

The fact that there was no footage or record of the show was so creepy, and it made me believe more sinister things were happening on set than what actually was real. There were lots of twists and turns in the book, and I honestly never trusted anyone completely. The way the characters, the other Circle of Friends members, acted was so odd and creepy. They were completely stunted in their growth into adulthood which makes sense, once you figure out what happened on the 'set', but it was still very unsettling.

I didn't like reading this book at night, and read most of it in broad daylight while at jury duty; it was that creepy and disturbing, mostly because you don't know what's going to pop up next. 

The writing was superb, you were drawn into the world of Mister Magic and constantly on edge of what was going to be revealed next. Reading through the eyes of Val, someone who doesn't remember her time on set, gave you that sense of urgency and dispare. If she didn't know, you didn't either. Nothing was as it seemed and it really added to the thrilling nature of the book.

I felt like the last quarter of the book kind of jumped the shark in my opinion; it became way too ethereal and didn't feel like something tangible that you could actually understand. It became something other than what you thought was going to happen and was so outside the realm of possibility that it took me out of the book. I'd say that it's the main reason I ended up not loving this book as much as I thought I would...it was just so different from what was originally set up for you.

I will say that if you pick up Mister Magic I recommend reading the author's note at the back of the book first because it will tee up the point of the story for you, without giving away too much of a spoiler. I think the author's note, and White's experience in why she wrote the book the way she did, is essential part of the reading. I wish the publisher would've put the note at the front of the book so you were in the right frame of mind to receive the plot the way it's intended.

Ultimately, I didn't love or hate this book, it just wasn't what I set it up to me in my mind but I still think it's a solid read and incredibly interesting, especially when you see where the author was coming from.

If you read Mister Magic, what did you think? 


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