Book Reviews

Review: Remedial Magic by Melissa Marr

I wanted to like Remedial Magic, but it was not working for me. There were a variety of different factors which I’ll touch upon in my book reviews, but I was saddened because I love the idea of finding out you’re a witch. Keep reading this book review of Remedial Magic for my full thoughts.


Ellie loves working in her local library in the small town of Ligonier. She loves baking scones and investigating the mysterious and captivating in her spare time. And there is nothing more mysterious and captivating than the intriguingly beautiful, too properly dressed woman sipping tea in her library who has appeared as if out of nowhere. The pull between them is undeniable, and Ellie is not sure that she wants to resist.

Prospero, a powerful witch from the magical land of Crenshaw, is often accused of being… ruthless in her goals and ambitions. But she is driven to save her dying homeland, and a prophecy tells her that Ellie is the key. Unbeknownst to Ellie, her powers have not yet awakened. But all of that is about to change.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Let’s just start off with what did not work for me pretty early on. Maybe this is just because this was the second book in a row I’d read, but can we just stop using Harry Potter references? We don’t need to continue it’s legacy in the cultural consciousness considering the problematic elements of the original and JK Rowling’s behavior ever since. What is especially frustrating is that 99% of the time, it’s such a small reference it could easily just be edited out or not mentioned at all?

Secondly, like some reviewers have already pointed out, the idea that magic would cure cancer and any illnesses meaning that there would be absolutely no disabled characters reeks of ableism – and specifically the magical cure trope. Not only that, but his cancer and the magical cure are continually almost held over one of the characters as a reason he has to stay and a motivational point why he is desperate to stay. Which felt extra exploitative.


Thirdly, from a synopsis perspective, I was greatly confused because according to the synopsis I thought this was only going to be Ellie’s story, when in reality it’s multiple POV with two other characters. And I had a difficult time connecting with these characters on more than a surface level. I could point out their ‘motivations’ on paper, but with the shortness of their chapters, I didn’t feel that connection or deeper introspection. Additionally, I’m not sure if it’s just the cynic, personal taste, or what but I also felt like the ‘romance’ elements were incredibly shallowly developed and like instant? I didn’t even get hooked on their romance or what I was supposed to fall in love with.

All in all, Remedial Magic didn’t work for me on a variety of levels. Even once I got past my initial feelings regarding the references and ableism, the character development did not work for me. I’ve left links here just so you can also check out other reviews as well. Find Remedial Magic on Goodreads & Storygraph.


What book do you wish worked for you?

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