So today we are reviewing the debut novel Bad Magic from A. M. Stirling. A big thank you to Emma from Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to take part.
Let’s get started…
When Richard meets his cousin Amanda for the first time in twenty years, he’s still afraid of her; she bullied him throughout his childhood and sexually abused him when they were teenagers. He owns a struggling art gallery that only survives because his wealthy grandmother pays for it. But now Amanda’s back in his life, things look set to change. She’s out to make trouble, drugging Richard with Rohypnol, faking a burglary and trying to persuade their grandmother to change her will. Richard’s heard a rumour she murdered her mother. Fearing for his grandmother’s life and his inheritance, he decides to give Amanda a dose of her own medicine.
This is a really dark book!
I went into this book completely blind without even reading the synopsis, I saw the cover which intrigued me and I just said yes! So it was definitely a shock to the system when I started reading about the abusive sexual relationship between cousins Richard and Amanda. This was pretty unusual in the sense that Amanda was the aggressor taking advantage of Richard from a young age giving him “sex lessons”. Bad Magic is a tough read, I have never been affected by this topic so it would definitely be something to bare in mind if you do find yourself sensitive to the topic of sexual abuse.
I found none of these characters to be likeable which I think was the authors intention, everyone seemed to rely heavily on alcohol and prescription drugs. This book is very character driven which is why I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I could have, which is completely down to personal preference as I do normally enjoy books with more of a focus on the plot.
Even though this is dark and disturbing it is so interesting to be a fly on the wall to a family discovering their flaws and secrets. If you enjoy watching the inner workings of dysfunctional families then you will definitely enjoy Bad Magic!
So who is A. M. Stirling?
A. M. Stirling has had a varied career as a freelance photographer, an artist with several national and international exhibitions to his name, and an academic. After harbouring an ambition to write fiction for far too long, he completed an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.
Bad Magic is his first published novel. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.
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