BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Series Review: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic


Series: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic

Titles: Slouch Witch, Star Witch, and Spirit Witch

Author/Publisher: Helen Harper

Price: $3.99 (ebook) / $12.99 (paperback)

Ivy Wilde is a witch -- and a darn good one. She is also too stubborn for her own good, and lazy. Or, at least, that's what she tells herself and that's the facade she presents to the world. After being expelled from the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment campus for cheating (she was framed) and assault (she punched the twat who framed her) she has dedicated her life to doing as little as possible, because obviously hard work gets one nowhere in life and just results in disappointment. So, she drives her cab, hangs out on the couch with her familiar Brutus, and designs ridiculously powerful and complicated runes that she never tells anyone about because what would be the point? ... And then she gets accidentally bonded to Raphael Winter of the Order's investigative Arcane Branch and finds herself caught up in all sorts of potentially lethal adventures involving theft, dark magic, necromancy, zombies, and serial killers. Oops.

Ivy Wilde is my spirit animal. She is ridiculously smart, which means she gets easily bored. She is fiercely loyal to her few friends and does not suffer idiots or sycophants well. She is snarky, but never cruel; she has too much empathy for the underdog, having been stomped on herself more than once. She likes to think of herself as lazy and self-centered, but, when lives are on the line, she does what needs to be done.

Brutus is the perfect familiar for Ivy. Like her, he prefers lazy days on the couch to traipsing about the countryside saving humanity, but if that is what he has to do for fishy treats, so be it. He wasn't sure if she was the right witch for him, and she still needs a lot of work, but the spell that she cast allowing him to speak human has proven useful. (And, being a cat, he never lets her know just how well the spell worked.)

The magic in the series is wonderfully unique. It is based on runes and herbs. Runes, in this case, complicated sigils, only work if they are cast in the air by hand. Drawing a rune does nothing; it can sit in a book for ages and have no effect, but, as soon as a witch twiddles her fingers and releases the rune into the ether, it goes to work. The more specific and well-developed the rune and the more skilled the witch, the more powerful and precise the effect. Similarly, herbs are just plants until they are mixed in the correct proportions and matched to a witch's power; then they can do all kinds of fun things like set zombies on fire and knock out smarmy ex-boyfriends.

While there is nothing overtly Pagan or polytheist in The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic, there is a lot here that will appeal to Pagan readers. For example, the power of language. In Spirit Witch, the ghost of a former leader of the Order appears to Ivy, complaining that he and many others have been unwittingly condemned to wander the world; saying something like "may you never know peace" does have an effect. At the same time, he complains that the dead have been forgotten. The ghosts want to be remembered -- as in China, where there are household shrines and the ancestors are treated with respect. Finally, the afterlife is not just heaven and hell; it's much more complicated than that.

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic is fun, fast, and highly entertaining. The characters are a blast, the romance is slow and sweet, the magic is cool, and there are plenty of exciting, edge of your seat heroes-versus-bad guys sequences. Recommended to fans of Ilona Andrews' Hidden Legacy series, The Twenty-Sided Sorceress books by Annie Bellet, The SPI Files by Lisa Shearin, The Ordinary Magic books by Devon Monk, and the Rylee Adamson books by Shannon Mayer.  


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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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