Review: Magic Dark and Strange

Title: Magic Dark and Strange
Author: Kelly Powell
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.

When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.

This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.


Catherine Daly works at a printer, setting the pages for obituaries, but at night she has a special talent. She goes to cemeteries, digs up graves, and uses her magic to allow loved ones to have a final goodbye. For every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour of her life. One day, she’s instructed to dig up an unmarked grave of a coffin maker and retrieve a special timepiece that is enchanted to bring the dead back to life, permanently. She gets help from Guy Nolan, the son of a watchmaker. However, when they open the grave, they discover a decades old body and no timepiece. The body comes back to life as a boy, close in age to Catherine. He doesn’t remember anything about his past or the timepiece. Catherine’s employer is still expecting the timepiece, so Catherine, Guy, and the new boy Owen, have to search for the timepiece before it’s too late.

I loved the dark and spooky atmosphere of this book. It was set in a fictional town that reminded me of Victorian England. There was a little magic, with the special power that Catherine had and the magical timepiece. There was lots of time spent in cemeteries which is always fun in a spooky novel.

I found some scenes a little repetitive. They returned to the cemetery a lot, which was understandable since the mystery centered around the cemetery. Some of the scenes were very similar so it felt repetitive. I figured out the secret behind what happened to the timepiece before the ending. I think it was the most logical explanation, so I was glad I got it right.

Magic Dark and Strange is a great spooky read!

What to read next:

Cadaver and Queen by Alisa Kwitney

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Have you read Magic Dark and Strange? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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