The Books of Magic

By Neil Gaiman

Rating: 4 stars

Four mysterious men argue amongst themselves on what to do about Timothy Hunter, a young boy who has the potential to become the greatest magician of his age. They eventually decide to show him the realms of magic and let him choose his own future.

At first glance this graphic novel of a young boy with glasses being introduced to a world of magic (even with his own owl) might look a bit familiar, but The Books of Magic was published many years before J. K. Rowling’s bespectacled wizard was even a twinkle in her eye.

We actually learn very little about Timothy in this volume (although apparently we get that in later volumes) and there’s little characterisation, but that’s not really Gaiman’s intention with this story. Like much of his work, this is a story about myth and magic, and it’s the mythology of his world that carries it.

There are many, many cameos from characters in the DC universe throughout the story as the ‘Trenchcoat Brigade’ (including DC favourites John Constantine and Doctor Occult) show Timothy various aspects of the magical realm, but even to someone like me who is mostly unfamiliar with it, it doesn’t matter and you don’t need to be familiar with the characters to enjoy the story.

The artwork is excellent all the way through and the aura of unreality about it suits Gaiman’s story to a tee. A very enjoyable read. And the owl’s cooler than Harry Potter’s too…

Book details

ISBN: 9781563890826
Publisher: Vertigo
Year of publication: 1993

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