Review: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams #1) by Megan O’Russell

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Published: 15 August 2017

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Category: Fantasy/Magic

Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?

Don’t worry. I never wanted to either. But if you’re ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you’ve never had the guts to say actual words to, there’s an app for that.

I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn’t have, burned down the set shop for my high school’s theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad’s penthouse.

But it gets better! Now I’m stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It’ll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.

Rating: 2.75 Stars

When I was sent this summary to decide whether or not to review it, I thought I’d go ahead because based on the description alone it sounds like the kind of book a fan of the Percy Jackson series would enjoy. It promises a lot of crazy accidents, fantastical elements in a modern setting, and characters that are just this side of unbelievable.

I like the collection of characters that were presented in the book, with a slight exception for the main one. Bryant’s self-deprecation might have been a quirky character trait at first, but it wore down quickly and became too much. Constantly throwing out sarcastic references to how ugly his hair was or how unlucky he was to be uncool compared to his friend Devon…there’s only so much I read before I started rolling my eyes.

Devon had a couple of funny lines, my favorite of which was after he and Bryant tried to destroy the magic phone:

“It’s the Rasputin of phones,” Devon murmured. “It can never die.”

There was something that I thought was a bit off about the characters, though it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone from Bryant to Devon to Elizabeth, the people that were supposed to be 17 or 18, read younger than that and it made imagining them dealing with the events of the story…sticky. If Bryant’s age hadn’t been explicitly stated, I would have pegged him for 13 or 14. It doesn’t sound like a lot of difference, but it made the narrative feel a bit weird, reading a character as way younger than they’re supposed to be.

The family relationship between Bryant and his mom felt very real. I think his mother may be the most normal mom I’ve read in a fantasy book. What I didn’t get was some of her decisions, like the apparent family agreement that’s 30 pages long and has Article 17:

“Article seventeen states that in a true emergency no questions will be asked and no punishment given if the son approaches the mother with a genuine fear.”

While in theory this article sounds like something that might occur in a family, a trust exercise if you will, what does it say that there’s a written out “contract” with something like this and who knows what else? Bryant explains it to Elizabeth that he had his mom sit down and hash it out after the first time he was grounded. To be honest, I don’t get the sense that he’s the kind of kid that think of that sort of thing either now or in the past when he was grounded.

The romance between Bryant and Elizabeth took up a lot of page time, which I suppose would’ve been alright if it didn’t feel so forced. It doesn’t have to do with my reading these kids as younger than stated, but the fact that their interactions felt stale.

Pace wise things moved along decently, something I was grateful for after having been stuck in a slump of slow books. The way the story moved and how the characters were presented to the reader made it a little hard to get invested overall; I’d liken it to watching an action movie: two hours of people and places and fights flying by and you enjoy the moment, even if you can’t fully grasp what the individual motions are.

Overall, I would say that the book was okay for me, though I can see how it would appeal to a wider audience.

I’d recommend this book for fans of fantasy novels like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series, and Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. books.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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