Karen Fox’s Impractical Magic is a fairy tale - literally. Fox writes stories in which one or more of the main characters are ‘faeries,’ but while this story is sweet and endearing, the multiple references to faery sex ensure that it is not a story for children.
In each of her other two novels a faery and a mortal human had fallen in love and had a child. Now those two children are together in their own romance.
Brandon Goodfellow has always been irked that he does not have the same magical abilities as his father, but that doesn’t stop him from becoming one of the best illusionists in the world. But now Rose Thayer, who did inherit her mother’s faery powers, is doing an investigative report on his magical abilities.
Rose doesn’t want to ruin Brandon’s career by divulging all of the secrets Brandon has been working a lifetime to perfect and protect, but she has spent a lifetime trying to prove to everyone, including herself, that she could make it in the human world by her own intelligence and hard work. Now that she is so close to earning a promotion at work she learns that the only thing standing in her way is one last exposé about her childhood love, forever ruining any chance for reconciliation.
When Rose first shows up at Brandon’s rehearsal his body immediately reacts, and we know that there is some bit of history there. But he is just so hung up on the fact that she has magical powers and he doesn’t that it keeps getting in the way. If you ever wanted to just tell a guy to shut up and stop ruining the mood, you’ll know how I felt reading about Brandon and Rose. When Brandon bets Rose that she couldn’t last without using her powers, and certainly couldn’t write her exposé without them, Rose takes the bet. Call it pride or just the plain need to prove one’s self. But, did you know that if a faery doesn’t use her powers - she begins to leak magical powers? A simple wish uttered by someone standing near Rose is enough to make that person’s wish come true.
While Brandon and Rose are battling each other and trying to contain Rose’s leaking magic, Brandon’s cousin and Rose’s best friend, Sequoia, has to teach an annoying Faery the meaning of love so that he’ll return to the faery world without Rose. But while Sequoia is trying to teach Ewan a lesson about love both couples learn more about what it means to care and love another human being… or faery.
Karen Fox does a nice job with her characters. Both of her secondary characters, Sequoia and Ewan, are fun and engaging. They are headed for romance faster than the main characters, but that’s all right because they have less barriers in the way of their romance. Fox’s main characters, Rose and Brandon, are continually struggling with their inner conflicts - and since Fox keeps this in mind during the entire story readers know exactly where the characters stand and there are no strange surprises or plot twists that seem to come out of left field. In fact, from the very first chapter it was obvious what needed to happen with Rose and Brandon in order to make their relationship work.
This is not to say that the story was predictable or boring. Fox writes in a charming light-hearted manner that seems to flow nicely as the characters keep coming to the same conclusions (that they want each other) and the same conflicts (…so, they want one another, but can they make it work?). And, although I tend to take for granted that all romances end in “happily ever after” with this fairy tale, I constantly said to myself, “I know this has to end well, but how?” Can the magic of love and faeries be enough for two distinctly different people to make it work?
The magic of love and faeries aside, the actual sex scenes in Impractical Magic are somewhat forgettable but the seduction is strong and the relationships are sweet. And while the magic doesn’t take second place to the romance, or vice versa, there is a nice blend. Fox doesn’t bog down the story with too many details, but I know that the faery realm is vividly etched in her mind. Small clues sneak their way into the story and are just too keen to have been placed in half-hazard. The details permeate the story, underlying the entire plot with an enchanting world and perhaps by the fourth, or fifth novel we’ll have a clearer image of the wonderful faery world that Fox has been creating for us.