I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
Published by Balzer + Bray on 5/12/15
Genres: Young Adult
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.\r\n\r\nWhat 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.\r\n\r\nTold 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.
“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it all…and then some you don’t want”. I found those song lyrics echoing through my head as this story unfolded. They seemed to perfectly sum up the theme of the book. This started off as a really interesting premise: hekamists (modern-day witches who have been outlawed but still practice in secrecy) can cast all sorts of spells on people – for a hefty fee, of course. The catch is that each spell comes with a price. Haven’t we learned by now, magic always comes with a price? The price for these spells seems pretty high – losing some of your mental capacity in order to become beautiful, or losing skills and talents in order to gain other things. And if you dare layer multiple spells…well, let’s just say that can get really dicey. The story is told from the points of view of four friends: Ari, Kay, Markos, and Win, who has died when the book begins. My main beef with the story is that I didn’t really like any of the main characters. Win was a nice guy, but since we already knew he had died, I felt somewhat detached from him. Ari and Kay both made really, really bad choices in getting spells: Ari got a spell to forget her boyfriend, Win, because she was so brokenhearted over his death. This cost her the ability to dance, which was both her passion and her ticket to a better future. Kay was even more ridiculous – she got a spell to make herself beautiful, and then spells to keep her friends connected to her. They literally couldn’t leave; the spell kept them close at any cost (including bodily harm). And then there was Markos, who spends most of the book trying to be a jerk, despite the fact that he isn’t one. There were two other friends that I actually liked more who didn’t get their own chapters. One of them was the daughter of a hekamist, and she was the most interesting character in the book. I would’ve loved to have known more about her or read things from her perspective. The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman pulled me in with the interesting premise. Waiting to discover what secrets would be uncovered, and finding out what really happened to Win kept me reading. But the fact that I didn’t find most of the characters likable, and that the spells they chose seemed very immature and selfish lost a lot of points. I would love to read more about the hekamists and how they were pushed out of mainstream society – that part of the story was really interesting. The rest of the book fell pretty flat for me.
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