It is sad, but I am a bit disappointed. This read wasn´t what I was expecting. There is a lot of magic, yes, but not in a happy way. But if you are looking for a dark and grim story mixed with some emotions, passion, and a curse, this could be for you. For me, it wasn´t a reading pleasure. Sad, but true.

The Rules Of Magic-Eine Zauberhafte Familie*
by Alice Hoffman
The Rules Of Magic Series #1
Translation Eva Kemper
Original Title The Rules Of Magic
Publisher Fischer on July 28, 2021
Genre Novel
Pages 363
Format Softcover
Source Fischer TB

For the siblings Franny, Jet, and Vincent, their friendship is most important. Because they share a tragic family fate: everyone who falls in love with them must pay with their lives for it. But can you really control whether and when you fall in love? And what to do when love inevitably leads to disaster? Because of course the three are looking for happiness. And they´ll take courage, cleverness, and more than a little magic to outsmart fate. (Personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Franny, Jet, and Vincent grew up with many rules. Don´t do this, don´t do that and for sure don´t fall in love. When they first visit their Aunt Isabelle things start to change. Life has so much more to offer than following the rules. But will it make them happy to obey to all those rules?

At the beginning of the novel, the story was written in a brisk, fresh style. The character descriptions short and to the point. In the further course of the plot that changed, and the tone of voice became more and more melancholy and sad. This darkness in the text as well as in the scenes was too much for me after just a few chapters. In places I felt so sad while reading that I had to deliberately put the novel on its side to do something else and to lighten my mood.

The story itself is varied, often very emotional and provided with some wonderfully amusing scenes and dialogues. Although the author manages to show the reader a world full of magic, I always felt like I was kept at a distance while reading. As if the author didn´t want her readers to identify with the individual characters or to come close to them. I thought it was a shame.

Alice Hoffman created the most varied of character types here with her figures. But they all have one thing in common: They are extraordinarily beautiful. Purely optically speaking. Because while Franny is a red-haired beauty with a rather gloomy mood and charisma, Jet is a black-haired beauty with a happy disposition. Vincent, the third member of the group, has a charm that makes you kneel, which not only gets him into serious trouble once.

The novel reminded me a lot of the TV series The Witches of East End. In the end, however, the story was too dark, too melancholy and in places to sad for me. Sure, there are wonderful moments in this book, and feelings are not neglected either, but all in all, this is not a book for an enjoyable afternoon of reading.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Zu Beginn des Romans war die Geschichte in einem flotten, frischen Schreibstil verfasst. Die Figurenbeschreibungen kurz und auf den Punkt. Im weiteren Handlungsverlauf änderte sich das und der Tonfall wurde immer melancholischer und trauriger. Diese Dunkelheit im Text als auch in den Szenen war mir dann schon nach wenigen Kapiteln zu viel. Stellenweise fühlte ich mich während des Lesens so schwermütig, das ich den Roman ganz bewusst auf die Seite legen musste, um etwas anderes zu tun und meine Stimmung wieder aufzuhellen.

Die Geschichte selbst ist abwechslungsreich, oft sehr emotional und mit einigen herrlich amüsanten Szenen und Dialogen versehen. Zwar schafft es die Autorin, dem Leser eine Welt voller Magie zu zeigen, aber ich hab mich beim Lesen immer wie auf Distanz gehalten gefühlt. Als ob die Autorin gar nicht wollte, dass ihre Leser sich mit den einzelnen Figuren identifizieren können oder diesen nahe kommen. Fand ich schade.

Die unterschiedlichsten Charaktertypen hat Alice Hoffman hier mit ihren Figuren kreiert. Eines eint sie aber alle: Sie besitzen eine außergewöhnliche Schönheit. Rein optisch gesprochen. Denn während Franny eine rothaarige Schönheit mit eher düsterer Stimmung und Ausstrahlung ist, ist Jet eine schwarzhaarige Schönheit mit fröhlichem Gemüt. Vincent, der dritte im Bunde, besitzt einen Charme zum Niederknien, der in nicht nur einmal in ordentliche Schwierigkeiten bringt.

Mich hat der Roman sehr an die TV-Serie Die Hexen von East End erinnert. Letztendlich war mir die Geschichte aber zu düster, zu melancholisch und stellenweise auch zu traurig. Sicher, es gibt auch wunderschöne Momente in diesem Buch, und die Gefühle kommen auch nicht zu kurz, aber alles in allem ist das kein Buch für einen vergnüglichen Lesenachmittag.

*This book was published in the English language The Rules of Magic by Simon & Schuster on October 10, 2017 

Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman ©Matt McGinley

Alice Hoffman was born in New York in 1952 and now lives in Boston. Her novels have been translated into over 20 languages and have received numerous awards. With "The Rules of Magic" and "Practical Magic" she wrote an enchanting family story that is currently being filmed for the second time.


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