A Bridging Course in Magic
You know what I like about Skye Hegyes’s blog? She always posts something relevant and insightful. I’m about to post something totally, utterly, irredeemably irrelevant. Here it is.
Magic School Books #1
You thought it was gonna be something dramatic, right? 😀
Lately I’ve been on a quest to read as many magic school books as possible. That is, any book that is set in a school whose subjects include magic, or whose students are magic. It doesn’t have to be called magic – Ransom Riggs’s uses “peculiar”, for instance. So long as it’s wink-wink nudge-nudge not magic, then it’s fine. Nor does it have to be for kids. Or for adults. Yahtzee Croshaw’s Mogworld made the list, and so did Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch.
To this end I have scoured Amazon, GoodReads, WordPress, Twitter and the Facebookerverse searching for magic school titles. GoodReads has some great lists for this very purpose, and Amazon can be navigated with some difficulty to produce results. However, it was that notorious website TV Tropes that really fleshed out the list. TV Tropes didn’t just give examples of magic schools – it defined exactly what a book needed to have to qualify.
As you might imagine, the search has led to the purchase and wishlisting of many, many books. I should finish reading book #5 today, and then I’ll be able to put together a video or article (probably both) on the pros and cons of these first five magic schools compared to a theoretical “perfect” magic school. It’s kind of an experiment into subgenres. Stick with me. It’ll be grand.
Yet this quest has not been without its disappointments. I was hard-pressed to find any magic school titles published by independent authors. With the popularity of titles like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Vampire Academy, I know there are tons of indie works out there dealing with magic schools. There must be. But where are they? Amazon provided a few. Nothing overly popular. There is no John Green of the magic school genre. And that is disappointing.
Still, perseverance is key. Sooner or later someone will link me to an Amazon list of independent magic school fiction and all will be right with the world.
Here are the first five titles to undergo analysis:
1. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
2. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
3. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
4. Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw
5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Excluding sequels, the list is currently sitting at 14 titles. I have a feeling there are actually 16, and two of the books are in the post, and hence I have forgotten their names.
Thank you in particular to Frank Franklin for his suggestions for titles to add to the list, and everyone else who provided feedback. I can’t tell you what made me want to do a magic school dissection, of all things. Surely life would have been made easier with, say, comic fantasy, Victorian steampunk, or dystopian wastelands – anything I had read a fair amount of. But well, I didn’t, and now here we are, and there you are, and that’s it from me today, thank y’all very much, meet you in the Trophy Room after midnight.