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Friday, March 15, 2019

7th MMGM: The Revenge of Magic by James Riley (review, interview, giveaway)

Welcome to Day 10 of the 7th Annual March MG Madness! Click here to see the full schedule and links to other days.

The Revenge of Magic 
(The Revenge of Magic #1) 
By James Riley 
March 5, 2019 

When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves! 

Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic. 

Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books. 

But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them! 

Thirteen years ago, on a day now known as Discover Day, the bones of magical creatures guarding magical books were discovered. Six months ago a horrific monster emerged from the ground and attacked Washington, DC, killing Fort’s father. Now Fort finds himself a student at a very top-secret school run by Dr. Oppenheimer. At this school, kids born after Discovery Day are taught to harness the magic found within the strange books. Fort soon learns that magic is more complicated than he thought and for every answer he finds even more questions pop up. 

The Revenge Of Magic is book one in James Riley’s exciting new middle-grade series. Fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and adventure all collide in The Revenge Of Magic, as James Riley takes readers on a twisty, turny thrill ride! 

From the magical spells found within the books to the creatures from below and their spine-tingling masters, The Revenge Of Magic is chock full of cinematic and innovative fantasy/sci-fi elements sure to excite and impress. Once at the school, Fort slams into one mystery after another- mysteries about the attack, mysteries about his peers, mysteries about the school itself – and these clever, twisted mysteries will keep young readers riveted until the very last page. Riley fills The Revenge Of Magic with capable, engaging young characters. From stubborn Fort; witty Rachel; determined Jia; endearing Cyrus; and more, there are plenty of characters for readers to admire, laugh with, and root for. 

Fast-paced, smartly written, and a lot of fun, The Revenge Of Magic is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, and epic battles, shocking reveals, and captivating new quests will leave readers wanting more! 

Q1. What three words best describe your book The Revenge of Magic? 

“Real-world magic,” if I did my job right (though that might technically be two words, depending on your hyphen philosophy)! I love books about schools of magic, but I wanted to put a realistic spin on one, and explore what it’d be like if magic really did exist in our world, what a school for magic might actually look like. And in my world, it looks like it’s run by the military/government.  

Q2.  Grab a copy of The Revenge of Magic and answer the following 

Favorite chapter? Hmm, maybe Chapter 35, where we get to see some of what kinds of things have been dug up around the world when magic returned. Big hints for upcoming books! 

Favorite page? Page 82, right after our hero takes a test to determine which kind of magic he should learn. This page not only sums up the mysteries in the book, but also Fort’s problems.  

Favorite setting? The Oppenheimer School, because it’s everything I hope readers aren’t expecting in a school for magic.  

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: 

The words on the cover in an alphabet he’d never seen before seemed to blur, then refocus, now completely readable: The Magic of Destruction, and Its Many Uses. 

Q3. What inspired The Revenge of Magic? How did the story come to be? 

The world looks pretty dark right now, but the thing that brings me the most hope is kids and teenagers, and how they don’t let “knowing” something is impossible stop them from trying (which is the only way impossible things get done). So it felt like it was about time to give kids some power of their own, in this case magic that only they, not adults, can use.  

Q4. Tell us a bit about your character Fort. What makes him special? What do you love about him? 

Fort is deliberately not a “chosen one” character, and instead, has fallen into the school for magic mostly for random circumstances. He’s an ordinary kid who isn’t the best at magic, but tries his hardest, and cares about his friends and family more than anything. And the fact that he never stops trying his best, even when he constantly fails, is what I love most about him.  

Q5. What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade lit? 

I tend to think of the best middle-grade as about as pure “all-ages” stories as we can get: It’s appropriate for anyone as young as 7 or 8, and if it works, can be enjoyed by any adult as well. Plus, they’re some of the most imaginative books out there! 

Q6. What is your all-time favorite middle-grade book? 

Probably Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander, but any of the Chronicles of Prydain books would work here. I just love that series, and am desperately in need of a reread. Taran Wanderer might be my favorite just because it’s so not what you’d expect from a fantasy series, as Taran tries to figure out who he is by trying all kinds of different jobs, and learning from each. It takes a master writer like Lloyd Alexander to make a job search both fun and exciting! 

Q7. Fill in the blanks: 
I’m really awesome at Wondering if my writing is any good 

I’m really embarrassed to admit I laugh at my own jokes, probably too much.  

The last great book I read was Middle grade-wise, I read THE INQUISITOR’S TALE and loved it! Adam Gidwitz writes books that are exactly what I want from middle grade, and really, any story.  

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Revenge of Magic what would it look and taste like? What would you call it? 

It would probably look and taste terrible, because I have no visual sense and always end up with underdone bakes. Paul Hollywood would not shake my hand (shout out to the Great British Baking Show!), honestly. But if I could create one and have it look good, it’d be a dragon wing skeleton on top, made from hard sugar, and the rest of the body would be inside the chocolate cupcake beneath, like it was the ground. Creepy, huh? 

James Riley is the New York Times bestelling author of the HALF UPON A TIME series, the STORY THIEVES series, and the REVENGE OF MAGIC series. Contrary to what previous biographies have stated, he is a) real and b) not the character Nobody from his STORY THIEVES books. Where would people even get that idea? (Spoiler: From him. He totally made it sound like he really was Nobody. He thought it’d be funny. We’re sorry.)   He was born in Connecticut, where he lived for only a short time before moving to … well, quite a few states. He currently lives in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., because that’s where his cats are. He has four of them. Other people think that’s a bit much.  
James is currently working on getting REVENGE OF MAGIC books out every six months, so he might be a little busy. But feel free to e-mail him with questions at, or ask on his blog. 

Win 1 of 2 copies of 
The Revenge of Magic!
The folks at Aladdin have generously offered two copies for two winners.
-US only
-ends 4/5/19
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen, prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Danielle H. said...

The cover makes me want to read this book! I love action-packed adventure middle grade and this sounds so much fun to read.

John Smith said...

Sounds like a good tale of magical creatures!

Brenda said...

That cupcake does sound creepy! Looks to be another fun series.

Slowsly said...

I enjoy magical stories and especially like the name Fort. It’s quite unique. I look forward to reading your book.

Dan Denman said...

I like the book cover design. This sounds like a good magical adventure.