Finding my way in Spellbook of Lost and Found

spellbook of the lost and foundI had sooo many mixed feelings about this one guys. There was a lot that was well done and then, for seemingly no reason, there was ideas shoved in here that I had a lot of problems with.

To start with, I did appreciate the writing. It was witty, striking and had plenty going on under the surface. I felt like that added to the uncanny element and the air of mystery. And boy were there quite a few mysteries to contend with and many layers to the narrative.

The story centred on two groups of girls finding a spellbook and there were consequently quite a lot of characters, which could have been tricky to keep a grasp on, but all of them were distinct and the voices separated them out nicely. I did also like the characters overall- they all felt necessary to tell the story and had their own problems woven into the plot.

That said, it felt like the book was missing something (no pun intended). Sure there was that eerie element, but it felt like everything could have been explained, which meant it didn’t hold the charm of actual magical realism. Plus while I did like the message at the end was lovely, to find the magic all around us, it didn’t feel quite like an ending and was more of a moral. And that’s okay- just not something I was really looking for.

Especially since it drew attention to the authorial intrusions that I’d had trouble with throughout. Because while there were a lot of smart things in this book that I loved, there was a not-so-smart thing to counterbalance it- which brings me to some of the random shit that was in this book that it could have done without:

  • The fact that a character was raped when they’re unconscious at a party and said something to the effect of “I’ve read all the feminist blogs and know there’s nothing you can do”- which seems like an incredibly irresponsible thing to tell young people. I’m not judging people’s decisions here, but actively telling people not to bother reporting crimes is not a good message.
  • strawman

    No offence strawmen!

    Why does this book set up the idea that the “heteropatriarchy” has decided there’s only one way to lose your virginity- strawman much? Literally nobody even in the book brought this discussion up. The main character just presents the idea and refutes it- so why is it there at all? Especially since no one in the world of the book even cares and I don’t care, so just bugger off.

  • Just the casual mention of Faulkner’s “kill your darlings”, which always irritates me no end because if Faulkner had killed his darlings he’d have executed his whole goddamn book.

None of what I’ve said there will probably be popular opinions, but whatever, that’s why I gave it:

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

So have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!


22 thoughts on “Finding my way in Spellbook of Lost and Found

  1. Vera says:

    I haven’t read it and not quite sure if I want to read it as I’ve been kinda obsessed with memoirs and non fiction in general recently. 🙈😊

    I thought your opinions were really well articulated and I absolutely saw where your frustration was coming from. Brilliant and fair review. 😊❤️


  2. failingatwriting says:

    It’s so frustrating when a character in a book says something apropos of nothing, and you realize that the author was just inserting themselves into that moment for no reason. I find myself doing it all the time when I write (without realizing it), then aggressively editing it all out later.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Ok, so this is on my radar hot! But… when we got to the random things you had issues with, I had to pump the breaks. I know I need to read it to put it in full context but those red “h3ll no” flags were popping up haha. Lived this review and very curious to see how my experience will compare.


  4. Bookstooge says:

    “I know there is nothing you can do”

    What the,,,,?!? How about not getting drunk or doing drugs? Or not going to places where there are people who would do such things?

    An ounce of prevention.

    Now I’m just depressed at how stupid other humans are…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bookstooge says:

        Ohh, gotcha. I was skimming, sorry.
        But even still, I agree with you. Law and Order are still in affect, even if not perfect. But if nobody believes in it, then it won’t be long before we all end up like some 3rd world country. Bleh…


  5. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Hm. How odd! It’s like the editor just… skipped parts? Spellbook isn’t on my TBR because I’ve heard this same complaint elsewhere- that random stuff is inserted. But the characters sound so wonderful! I’m conflicted now. Darn you!


  6. Marie says:

    Lovely review! I read this book a couple years ago and remember enjoying it, but I might have looked over some problematic parts, I don’t know, I read it on holidays so I wasn’t entirely focused on it, which is a shame. That reflexion about the rape is just not right, ugh :/


  7. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I saw a few reviews for Spellbook a little while back and they were positive ones so it sounded like the kind of book I’d love. It was interested reading your more mixed review for this one, especially the more problematic areas because I feel like now I can be aware of them going in.
    Great review for this book by the way. 🙂 ❤


  8. Norrie says:

    I was interested in this mainly based on the cover.
    Well, I’m not interested anymore.
    That comment on the rape aline could send me into an hour long rant only.
    While i know there are people who think like that, if that goes unchallenged in a story, or is not proven wrong, it’s just frustrating.


  9. Winged Cynic says:

    Hahaha great review! Sounds like this book didn’t hit the mark fully in terms of the magical realism, and the problematic aspects in regards to the sexual issues definitely would turn a reader off. Loved reading your thoughts on this!


  10. Sophia Ismaa says:

    Wow. Wow. Okay. I really don’t think the character has read feminist blogs properly because us feminists for sure would not say that we couldn’t do anything about it. Wow. I’m actually pissed off. What the f*** kind of message is that? Imagine a rape survivor reads this and takes this message to heart.


  11. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Bummer! I’ve had my eye on this one for a while.

    “The fact that a character was raped when they’re unconscious at a party and said something to the effect of “I’ve read all the feminist blogs and know there’s nothing you can do”- which seems like an incredibly irresponsible thing to tell young people. I’m not judging people’s decisions here, but actively telling people not to bother reporting crimes is not a good message.”

    This is pretty irresponsible message to send young people. Especially since people have been working so hard to bring situations like this to light with the #MeToo movement and encouraging people to come forward with their experiences. This is unfortunate.


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