Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-As the concluding volume of this trilogy opens, Reason Cansino is "fifteen years old, pregnant, and magic." In the world that Larbalestier has created, magic users have a choice-to use it and die young, or not to use it and go mad. However, at the conclusion of the previous volume, Magic Lessons (Penguin, 2006), Reason was given a different, more powerful type of magic. Her new abilities begin to change her and her unborn child, drawing her deeper into the world of magic and farther from her friends and family. Reason and her soon to-be-born child both have aspects of the title "magic's child," adding complexity to the book's themes of identity, choice, and power. Fans of the first two volumes will be glad to rejoin Reason and her friends in New York City and in Australia, though new readers may be confused by references to past events. Reason is a sympathetic and conflicted protagonist, and her struggles are fully realized and compelling. This is a strong conclusion to a compelling trilogy, and the epilogue offers a suitable twist and perhaps a chance to rejoin Reason in the future.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Previously in the Magic or Madness trilogy, a godlike ancestor has made 15-year-old Reason immune to magic's double-edged sword (use it and face early death, or abstain and go bat-shit crazy ). However, plenty of other dilemmas keep her occupied in this, the series finale. Pregnant and rejected by the baby's father, Reason faces concerns about the future and untrustworthy elders who covet her new powers. Throughout, magic emerges as a potent emblem of personal identity, as Reason and friends Jay-Tee and Tom, each speaking in turn, express joy in their abilities and horror at losing them, like being all three-dimensional and colorful and waking up 2-D and gray. In the end, the story doesn't quite hang together, hampered by too many incidental scenes and rehashings of the series' central conflicts. However, the inventive premise and amiable teen characters, whose immediate language brings everything down to earth (How the hell do you tell someone that you're magic? ), give reason to hope for more from Larbalestier as her storytelling powers mature. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2007 Booklist
Horn Book Review
When Reason develops the ability to harmlessly excise the magic from her fellow modern-day magic-bearers, thus freeing them of the impossible choice between using it and going mad, all involved must face how much magic defines their sense of self. Vibrant relationships and complex choices make this fantasy, the final volume in the Magic or Madness trilogy, engrossing. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
In this sizzling conclusion to a mordant fantasy trilogy, magic is more curse than blessing for 15-year-old Reason. She could wield it, and die young like her forebears; or refuse it, and go insane like her mother. A solution seemed to appear when a distant ancestor transferred his unfathomable power to Reason and her unborn child. But her best friend Jay-Tee is still dying from magical burnout; her baby's father has rejected her; her mother has been kidnapped; her evil grandfather is on the prowl; and now a social worker is investigating. No wonder Reason retreats more and more into the cool comfort of pure magic and abstract mathematics. Can she withdraw there, and still stay human? Alternating chapters by Reason, Jay-Tee and their friend Tom recount this crackling blend of fantastic adventure and soap-opera angst with vivid splashes of Aussie and American slang. A wry concluding twist mitigates a too-pat conclusion, and adolescent readers will be left pondering their own hard choices. Not a stand-alone story, but the entire trilogy is a worthwhile purchase. (Fantasy. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.