Dear friend,

I am very aware, with everything in the media lately, that I’m missing out on an important experience which is reading diverse books and books written by refugees. Their voice is a needed one in today’s politic climate. I’ve added a ton to my Amazon Wishlist and will most likely be buying some before the year’s end. But there is a part of me that feels I need to be reading those types of books right now while another part of me says, it’s okay. They’ll be there when 2018 begins. I never used to care about the national conversation, but lately it seems I always long to be a part of it. Maybe it is a good thing that I take a step back, and what better way to do so than with this challenge? Believe me, I don’t want to discourage you or anyone else to not be involved in the conversations being had. They are difficult but important. I just can’t contribute for a little while.

But speaking of important conversations, Simon has one with the Mage. See what I did there? Perfect transition!

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Simon is attacked in class by some some bee like creatures that swarm around him and get in his ears to make him loose his mind. He kills them before they get the chance (his magic also extends to a few other animals on the school grounds, sadly) and believes the attack came from the Humdrum. The Mage apparently still thinks it would be a good idea for Simon to leave campus but Simon is firm in his no. C’mon Mage! Don’t you know that if Simon leaves we have no story? Duh!

It just occurred to me in Penelope’s chapter that there are no school houses at Watford. Each student is only assigned a roommate. While I love the houses at Hogwarts, this seems to be another Sin of the Uncle. Hogwarts houses, while totally freaking awesome, create a lot of division within the students and the wizarding community. Not sure what makes the random roommate better or worse but it is a nice change. Also interesting is that 8th years have a graduation project (and suddenly I am back in high school senior year worrying about my own graduation project – ugh, I thought I blocked that out of my brain!) which is to create a spell! This is a really neat detail.

The Mage contemplates his power and how he must remind certain people that he is in charge. This thought surprised me. It seems Rowell isn’t trying to tell us what to think about these characters. She tells it as it is. Sometimes, the Mage seems good. Other times, like this one, his thoughts are very troublesome. It seems very Dumbledorian that he has an obsession with power and wants to keep it. And he reflects on Simon and says Simon is cracked but has hope that he can be fixed one day. Hmmm…interesting thought?

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It seems our trio is Simon, Penny, and Agatha. You can’t have a school boy novel without the trio of friends, you just can’t. They are brainstorming about the Mage’s desire for Simon to leave Watford. They talk about how Simon is the one prophesied and how he is a Normal since he was raised by Normals (side note – Normal is still a better name for non-magic folk than No-mage!). Simon has a lot of power but the big question is, can he wield it? I am really enjoying the way magic works in this universe. Much different from Potter, in a good way.

Agatha’s chapter comes off as pointless to me. I’m still not sure why she is a POV character but I trust the chapter gods to make it clear by the end of the book. She reflects on her encounter with Baz and that she is longing for a change. Perhaps dating Baz instead of Simon could be that change. Okay Agatha. Do you know what story you are in?

Then there is Lucy and we are back to the freaking short chapters. She is trying to reach out but her words can’t be heard and blah blah blah, blah blah. I hate these cryptic small chapters.  I guess my only reason to appreciate them is because they push the book length to fit my big book rules – 500 pages or more.

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Agatha breaks up with Simon and he is all butt hurt. All I can think is, don’t worry Simon. There is someone better out there for you! Just wait! Then, alas! Someone from the Veil comes to visit Simon. It is Baz’s mom. I guess she is Lucy? Wait, no. She is not. Baz’s mom is Natasha. Alright, who the hell is Lucy then?? Damn you book! Ghost Natasha asks Simon to give her son a message, that her killer walks free and to talk to Nicodemus. Once again with the cryptic stuff. Look, this happens a lot in fantasy. The trope is stupid but I can’t necessarily put fault on this book but the genre in general. But seriously? Why all the hints? Is Nicodemus her killer? Why not just say it was him or the name of someone else? WHY????

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Simon and Penny talk the next morning about Simon and Agatha’s breakup. Before Simon can tell Penny about the Veil, who should make a grand entrance but Baz himself. Yay! Baz is here! Yay! I’m super glad Baz is finally here! That can only mean we are one step closer to the two of these guys getting together and I am super pumped!

I appreciate all that this book has done to repair the Sins of the Uncle, though those seem to be more and more minimal with every chapter. That being said, I have not been all that engaged with this text. I enjoy it for what it is but nothing has really grabbed me and shouted that this book is amazing, and while I shouldn’t expect that I at least expected to be more into the book at this point. I’m hoping Baz starts to get the ball rolling. The mystery we’re being presented is interesting enough but I’m finding I just don’t care that much. I wish I did, but all I seem to care about is a plot point that hasn’t even happened yet.

Until next time, friend. Danielle.

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