Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Title: The Cost of All Things
Author: Maggie Lehrman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Magical Realism
Release date: May 12th, 2015
Pages: 416 (eGalley)
Rating: 2 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember. 

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.

Everyone in town knows that when you have a problem, it can be fixed for a price.  Unattractive people turn desirable, lonely people turn popular, and hekamists can even make you forget the very thing that haunts your dreams at night.  When Ari's boyfriend dies unexpectedly, she feels that her only option for a happy future is to wish him away.  She pays for a permanent spell to make her forget that he ever existed, and she ignores the warning that if she's had spells put on her before, the magic will cause bad side effects.  To her, anything is worth getting rid of this pain.  Suddenly, her life is turned upside down.  The only other thing she's ever known is being ripped away from her, and because of the spell, she can't even remember a good reason as to why this is happening.

The Cost of All Things is written from multiple perspectives, which I typically love, but I felt that none of these characters had anything to offer me.  The premise was enough to keep me interested, and I wanted to learn more about Win's untimely demise, but it was difficult to empathize with anyone, which is the most important factor in storytelling for me.  Quite honestly, I could see myself making a snap decision like Ari after losing someone close to me.  No one wants to be in pain.  I just didn't care for the way she lied to all the people she loved afterwards.

As a matter of fact, it wasn't just Ari that struck a nerve.  All of the characters were pretty selfish, which disappointed me.  They weren't there for each other when they needed friendship the most.  Kay tried to make that happen, but she did it in the worst way possible.  She spelled them unknowingly so they couldn't leave her, even if they wanted to.  Again, I can understand why she would feel the need to do that, but it made me like her character less and less as I continued to read on.  Aside from the characters and their own slew of personal problems, I thought that this book had an interesting take on magic and what can happen if you don't use it sparingly.

I love magical realism and it's not a genre that I find very often, so I was really quite excited to read The Cost of All Things.  Unfortunately it took me over a week to get through all of it, because the story just didn't grab my attention the way that many others tend to.  I thought about putting it down for good a few times, but I stuck with it just to see how things would turn out.  While it had some good messages about making mistakes and holding onto the ones you love, I just didn't find this story very enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. Awww–I’ve noticed that not many people liked this one :( And such a shame... it sounds like it has a good premise and I love magical realism too! Oh well... I’ll just have to see soon (the book is waiting for me on my Kindle). Great review :D