Cover Image: Magic by Any Other Name

Magic by Any Other Name

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Member Reviews

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC.

The premise is great, but I found the execution to be okay. I didn't love or hate the book. The characters are decently written and so is the story.

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The concept of this book was intriguing and the first chapters definitely grabbed my attention with all of the action. Unfortunately by the midway point, the story felt like it started to lag. By the end, things started to pick back up again but it did feel rushed at times. The backstory was well explained and I got a grasp of the overall mechanics of this urban fantasy world fairly quickly. There was an interesting cast of characters but one thing that hindered my enjoyment while reading was that there were so many different perspectives throughout the course of this book. My favourite aspect was the large variety of magical creatures. There was everything from witches to nymphs, to werhyenas, to vampires! I also liked the interconnectedness of the world and how fleshed out it was. This book has a lot of violence and tough subjects so I would recommend it to those on the older side of the YA reading range.

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Thank you Netgalley and SparkPress for the ARC in exchange for the honest review!

"Magic By Any Other Name" by Alison Levy is an engaging story focusing on the themes of identity, found family, and magic, drawing you into the intricate world Levy has created. Fleeing from her emotionally abusive mother and troubled family, Ivy embarks on a journey to construct a new identity as Georgette, accompanied by her best friend Mei-Xing. The narrative introduces a diverse ensemble of magical beings, including were-hyenas, vampires, Valkyries, and more, creating a rich and fantastical backdrop.

I really enjoyed the world that Levy created, especially with the variety of magical beings throughout the book; the exploration of these creatures was very interesting, and I enjoyed learning more about them (especially the were-hyenas – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with those creatures before). This book also had strong character writing with Ivy's struggle to overcome her traumatic past and build connections with her newfound magical family. I thought the family trauma and Ivy’s reactions to her past were fleshed out and realistic, especially with her emotional growth throughout.

The book has a bit of a slow start, but I overall thought it maintained a good balance, delivering an enjoyable reading experience. Some of the side characters were a bit underdeveloped and stereotypical, but I absolutely loved the found family aspect of the story. It was a bit difficult to follow the different perspectives throughout; I found myself forgetting who was who, especially since I’m pretty bad with names.

"Magic By Any Other Name" is a book I greatly enjoyed for its feel-good atmosphere, themes of found family, and the handling of heavy topics with a lighter touch. I recommend the book for those who enjoy found family stories with a magical twist.

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Thank you to netgalley and SparkPress for allowing me to read this book. This was a different read than I'm use to but I overall enjoyed it.

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In this tale, Ivy/Georgette escapes her toxic home with her bestie Mei-Xing, bonding over shared trauma while yearning for genuine love and trust. The narrative delves into self-discovery, friendship, and the process of rebuilding trust within oneself and with others. Although the story starts at a leisurely pace, it quickly gains momentum, captivating readers. The character development is praiseworthy, though some felt more nuanced than others.

Despite not typically delving into fantasy, this book ignited a newfound interest in the genre. A heartfelt thanks to NetGalley for this delightful journey into a mesmerizing new world.

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Ivy has run away from an arranged marrige and her emotionally abusive mother. Her companion is a
Mei-Xing, a Wood Nymph. Ivy locates an aunt who escaped from the family. The aunt tells her to create
a new identity/life that will keep the mother from finding her.
As Ivy heads out, she crosses paths with other magical creatures who are in need of help. Taking
the name of Georgette, she discovers she is stronger than she thinks.
Lovely tale of friendship, resilience and healing.
#MagicByAnyOtherName #NetGalley

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This was such a fun concept for a supernatural elements, it had a great overall feel to it and I enjoyed the magical elements. The cover was beautifully done and really made me want to read this. The characters were everything that I enjoyed from the concept. Alison Levy has a great writing style and it worked with what I wanted.

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Ivy Nichols O'Reilly has made the difficult decision to leave her controlling and abusive family. However, leaving isn't easy when you come from a powerful family of witches.  Ivy changes her name to Georgette and finds a place to stay on the other side of the country.  With Georgette is Mei-Xing, a wood nymph and her best friend. As they travel, Georgette and Mei-Xing are found by an enslaved Werehyena, Ishak, who seeks Georgette's help to free his wife from a familiar brokerage. The trio identify the brokerage in Las Vegas and Georgette finds a job with a Vampire, Kazimiera, keeping up the enchantments on her magical club.  As they are planning, Georgette catches the attention of a Valkyrie and her partner who need Georgette's powers, but could also help them free the familiars in the brokerage.  In the search for Ishak's wife, the group discovers something much more sinister at the brokerage that they need to solve. 

Magic By Any Other Name is an exciting fantasy that examines the value of friendship, finding strength within yourself and overcoming abuse.  The writing brings the many magical characters alive with amazing descriptions and distinctly human traits.  I felt a connection with Ivy and her strength to escape and reclaim her self worth.  Her spirit and amazing willingness to help others shone through. Mei-Xing, Ishak, Kazimiera, Nico, Neil, Delia and Senji were also well developed and interesting characters.  I liked that the point of view switched between all of the characters in order to see their perspective on the events and what was driving them and important to them.  I love that Georgette was able to gain confidence in herself and her abilities through her friendships with the others in order to find purpose and do good. Culminating in standing up to her mother along with forging her own path in life, Magic By Any Other name is an exciting fantasy with plenty and magic and heart. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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Thank you to SparkPress for the ARC!

MAGIC BY ANY OTHER NAME has a really fun premise, and I found the main character Ivy easy to empathize with. I found the initial set-up of the book to be a little tropey--MC trying to escape an arranged marriage, flees, discovers a brand new world--but it was entertaining enough that I stuck through it. I'm glad I did because the story quickly blossomed into a unique fantasy world. I wish there had been fewer POVs (I think I counted 8? 9? distinct POVs) because it suffered from simply having more than could be reasonably fully fleshed out in the frame of the book, but I did appreciate that the POVs were clearly separated, which made it slightly easier to follow. Overall, I'd read more work from this author.

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In Alison Levy's "Magic By Any Other Name," the world of magic unravels in the most enchanting and unexpected ways. This novel weaves the threads of self-discovery, friendship, and the transformative power of resilience, all while sprinkled with the allure of enchantment.

The story centers on Ivy Nichols O'Reilly, a young witch who has been raised in the embrace of wealth, magical creatures, and a harrowing upbringing. As her narcissistic mother orchestrates an unwanted marriage, Ivy, like a phoenix, rises from the ashes of her old life. She drops her given name and flees across the country with Mei-Xing, her loyal Wood Nymph friend, in tow.

With resolve and determination, Ivy rebrands herself as Georgette, embracing her newfound freedom and embarking on a quest to build an identity that is uniquely her own. Along the way, she encounters a cast of characters that are diverse as the magical world itself. From a Werehyena searching for his kidnapped wife to a Vampire with a unique magical enterprise, a curandero specializing in traditional medicine, and a Valkyrie with a raven companion offering a high-stakes deal -- Georgette's journey is a beguiling array of encounters that challenge her, transforming her in ways she never expected.

"Magic By Any Other Name" explores identity and resilience. Georgette's path to self-discovery unveils the healing power of friendship and the human (and magical) spirit's ability to rise from the depths of trauma and adversity. Levy crafts a story that is ethereal and deeply human, blending the realms of magic with the universal human experience of growth, healing, and love.

In the heart of this tale is the delicate balance between privilege and pain. Georgette is forced to confront her own privilege within the magical community in which she was raised and find the courage to navigate the trauma of her past. Her journey towards a healthy relationship with a man who sparks her heart's desires is a representation of the power of transformation and personal growth.

"Magic By Any Other Name" is an enchanting journey through the complex corridors of identity, self-acceptance, and healing. Levy's writing is a magical incantation that captures imagination. This book explores wonder, resilience, and the inexhaustible magic that resides within all of us. This novel will be enjoyed by those who believe in the extraordinary power of self-discovery and transformation.

Alison Levy has conjured a world where magic is a supernatural gift and a profound symbol of our own capacity to rise, heal, and create a life filled with enchantment and promise.

"Alison Levy's 'Magic By Any Other Name' -- A lyrical journey of self discovery and transformation."

"A spellbinding tale of resilience, friendship, and the healing power of magic."

"An enchanting odyssey through the worlds of identity and belonging."

"Levy's narratives weaves a spell of empowerment, healing, and authenticity."

"A whimsical tale of self-rediscovery that will leave you spellbound."

"The magic of 'Magic By Any Other Name' lies in its profound message of growth."

"A masterpiece of transformation -- A journey from trauma to triumph."

"Alison Levy casts a spell of empathy and resilience."

"A magical adventure that celebrates the power of friendship and self resilience."

"A story of enchantment, healing, and the magic that resides within all of us."

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