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Unseen Magic: 12/10/22
Unseen Magic by Emily Lloyd-Jones (2022) is set in Aldermere, a small, fictional town nestled among the redwoods of Humboldt county in Northern California. It's one of those rare places with magic and with that magic comes a series of rules its residents must live by.
Fin is the town's newest resident but she's never lived in a place for long. This town is the exception and maybe it really is her home. Her mother was from here originally. She's just afraid of messing things up, a feeling that's compounded by her anxiety.
Fin unleashes a magical being on the town when she tries to perform the magic she's been relying on since arriving. Unfortunately the woman who normally does it for her is in the hospital, recovering from a fall. Fin doesn't know all the steps and spends much of the book trying to fix things.
With Aldermere being rather insular and protected by its location in the redwoods as well as its magic, I couldn't help but compare the town to Frank Herbert's Santaroga Barrier (1968). The difference here, is Aldermere's magic doesn't seem malevolent in the way that Santaroga's jaspers is.
Another thing this book has in common with Herbert's, is both novels are on the Road Narrative Spectrum. As Fin wants to protect her new home but feels she might have done it irreparable damage, she as a traveler, is in a scarecrow/minotaur dichotomy (99). Her destination is a rural one (33), in that Aldermere is very remote and Fin hasn't become comfortable enough to consider it home. Her route is through the cornfield, or more precisely, the tkaronto, as represented by the river which crosses through the forest and is something Fin crosses and confronts numerous times as she tries to fix things (FF).
The second book, Unspoken Magic releases on February 21, 2023.