Hospital waiting rooms are very good places to read. Thanks to the fact that I spent about five hours in a hospital waiting room, I managed to finish Orson Scott Card’s Magic Street. This book was way better than the last one of his I read.
Before I get to far into this review, I’d like to point out that both Card and I are white guys. However, all the characters in this book are black. I’ve read other reviews that said that Magic Street’s dialogue reads too much like a white guy trying to write black. I don’t really know enough about that to comment, so I won’t.
I thought that this book was terrific. I’ve been a fan of urban fantasy for years, and this is probably the best book in the genre I’ve read, excluding the works of Charles DeLint. Card does an excellent job of combining the world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with modern L.A. and putting his own spin on the whole thing.
The plot revolves around a boy named Mack Street. He is created through the magic of Faerie, and is found as an abandoned baby in Baldwin Hills. He is raised by a nurse and her young neighbor. As Mack grows up, he discovers that he has the power to unwittingly grant people’s deepest wishes—with disastrous results. Soon he discovers that Oberon, king of the faeries, is behind his sinister powers, and Mack must team up with Titania and Puck to save the world.
The setting of this book is a real place, and it feels like it. The characters are all fictional, but thanks to Card’s own magic, they feel real too. The idea of a creature that grants twisted versions of wishes isn’t actually original–it was used in the Wishmaster movies or the classic short story “The Monkey’s Paw” for example—but Card makes it seem brand new. Card is one of the best living writers of science fiction and fantasy, and this is one of my favorite of his fantasy novels.
Over all, this is a terrific book. I give Magic Street 5 yo-yos. Up next, I’m reading Trudi Canavan’s The Magician's Guild, which isteriffic…so far.