Magic Dark and Strange: Kelly Powell *Review*

A paperback copy of Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell is being held up in a Caucasian female's left hand, in front of a white bookshelf full of polymer clay creatures.

Genres: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, YA Fantasy | Release Date: 27 October 2020 | Standalone | Pages: 207 | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Review

“Grief isn’t a wound that can be neatly stitched.”

Kelly Powell


I felt in the mood for something with a touch of gothic, so Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell was the obvious next read! And what a tale it is… This YA historical fantasy revolves around grave digging, seeking a magical artefact and reviving the dead. Tell me you wouldn’t go for this!

Catherine is a young woman working at a newspaper, who not only writes obituaries, but revives the dead for an hour at a time at the cost of one of her own. Her employer (Ainsworth) requests that she dig up a grave to retrieve a timepiece, a magical artefact that can completely restore a dead person back to the land of the living. But it all goes terribly wrong when Catherine and Guy open the casket to find no timepiece, but a living young man. How did Owen come back from the dead? Why is the timepiece so important that people are willing to kill for it? Can Catherine untangle this deadly web of deceit in time?

A paperback copy of Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell is sitting on a white bookshelf, in front of books by Alison Croggon and Jaymin Eve. A sparkling black pegasus (with rainbow tail) by My Sweet Critters is standing to the right of the book.
The perfect weekend read, Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell is a wonderful YA historical fantasy.
The stormy pegasus from My Sweet Critters loved every second of it!

Happiness Boost:

I’m a huge sucker for historical fantasy novels, and this one was such a delight. Kelly’s made sure that the social norms of the time are acknowledged within Magic Dark and Strange, but without overloading the reader. I enjoy when this happens, because I don’t want a big historical lesson for a historical fantasy. Instead, we get just enough to go on while we’re swept up in the adventure!

I thought I could be a Miss Marple and guess what was going on. It’s part of the fun, isn’t it? But my guesses were quite often wrong, which means this is a big happiness boost for me! Magic Dark and Strange delivered plenty of surprises and unexpected revelations. I don’t want to give away spoilers so I’m not going into specifics, but how could I not love these twists and turns?!

Kelly gave us a young man without any memories, Owen Smith. I admire that she created a troubled character while also giving him a support system (Catherine and Guy). When your world is turned upside down, you need people around you who can bolster your spirits, and there was no hesitation from Catherine and Guy in delivering that. This bond of easy friendship was such a pleasure to read. I know we were dealing with spooky magic goodness, but *this* was what I loved most about Magic Dark and Strange.


No downside!

Final Thoughts:

Kelly Powell’s Magic Dark and Strange is the perfect read for anyone who loves YA historical fantasy. It’s a gothic tale featuring cemeteries, magic and friendship… That’s a pretty awesome combination! With just 207 pages, it’s also the perfect size for a quiet weekend read. All you need to add is a cup of tea, a purring cat and a comfy place to sit. Magic Dark and Strange is definitely a five star read. Happy reading, glitterbugs!

You can order Magic Dark and Strange via these links:

Amazon | Booktopia | Fishpond

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