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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Book Review: Random Magic by Sasha Soren + Interview + Reader Notes!

Random Magic by Sasha Soren
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Beach Books, LLC
Pages: 420
Available Now:

Summary: When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is. Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.
My Review: Random Magic, stays true to it's title, it's truly random yet magical at the same time. It's based on the character Alice, which we all know from Alice in Wonderland, but she goes missing. Henry Witherspoon starts to frantically look for her. He then meets Winnie which would go to the end of the world to find her. The beginning of the book started out a little slow but eventually picked up when Winnie and Henry start a search party for Alice. They went through a crazy journey trying to find her. The world that Sasha created was amazing and totally entertaining. Her writing style is very descriptive and quirky. Usually this type of book isn't my cup of tea but it was very interesting. I enjoyed seeing Alice in a different light instead of the story that we are all used to. It was definitely a fun filled adventure, but at times was very hard to comprehend, I had difficulty with the language. Their were a lot of British type terms...too bad my blog buddies from the UK aren't here to help me out :) However, overall, a cute read, this book would be quite intriguing if it was turned into a movie directed by Tim Burton...maybe a sequel to the actual Alice and Wonderland he's coming out with? Hmmm....just some food for thought! Oh and the cover is very artistic and just like I told Sasha, she definitely resembles Nicole Kidman, don't ya think? Also, I absolutely adore Sasha, she is a passionate writer and a great person, I learned a lot from our back and forth e-mails :)
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Author's Info: Sasha Soren is a freelance writer/​producer, screenwriter, copywriter and lyricist. If you can’t find her at her keyboard, she’s either in the dojo or backpacking in some remote place with an unpronounceable name. Writing is her first love. Sasha has worked as a professional writer for ten years. Her work has been featured in Time Out (UK), Gene Simmons Tongue, SEED magazine and on CNNfn broadcast television.
For more info on Sasha, check out her website:

Align LeftInterview w/ Sasha Soren

1) How old were you when you started writing? Don’t remember, but it was quite early. Have always loved reading, so writing was a natural progression.

2) What inspired you to write Random Magic? Just wanted to write the kind of book I’d like to read – a fun escape, with a few more serious themes, eccentricity, color, comedy and wit, and a bit of magic. The goal was to write a funny, happy book with a bit of depth.
Something that would make people smile, but also encourage them to think.

3) Out of all tales, why was Alice in Wonderland your pick? Well, Lewis Carroll’s works were just so trippy, surreal, arbitrary, fun and nonsensical. It just seemed like a related story would be the most fun to write.

4) What was the hardest part about writing Random Magic? Just making enough through other writing gigs to be able to buy enough free time to finish the book. The actual researching, writing and editing was never the hard part. Creating anything – a new book, work of art, song, film, etc. – is, of course, grueling work, but it’s a labor of love. That’s the

5) If you had to describe your book in one word without using any from the title, what would it be and why? Hopeful. The book is hopeful in that the story is good-natured, buoyant and fun, and encourages readers to think about the value of loyalty, love, and magic in their own lives, and their personal definition of all these things. It’s also hopeful in the sense that what Henry learns from Winnie is an important lesson: Always believe in yourself, even if no one else does. The problem of finding Alice seemed like an impossible task, but Winnie always had faith that they’d accomplish it, and he had faith in
Winnie. Eventually, that also became belief in himself.

6) In your book, Alice is misplaced, have you ever misplaced anything important? Not on purpose!

7) Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest? Not at the moment, because working on something, but definitely always looking for a book that makes you want to run out and read every other one the author has ever written. That’s a fantastic feeling, and every book lover knows that feeling very well – it’s like finding a treasure trove, unexpectedly.

8) What book are you currently reading? Nothing significant right now, just a few non-fiction books. It takes up so much time just promoting the book, so there’s very little
downtime left. That’s the worst thing about writing, getting the word out. In an ideal world, could just write. And read! Also working on other creative projects, but they’re not writing
projects. It’s useful to take a break from a particular form of creating, it makes you stronger to use your skills in a different way, it’s kind of a breather. You use the same type of energy, but in a different way.
9) Do you have anything to say to all your current and future readers? Hope you had a nice time and close the book on the last page, with a contented smile on your face. That would make all the sacrifices and hard work absolutely worth it. If someone finishes the story and the first thought in their head is: “Wow, I loved this book!," that would be really gratifying, and the most sincere and best compliment anyone could ever offer -- even if the author never hears about it.

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about. Favorite luxury isn’t designer anything -- it’s free time. Finding enough free time (or funds, materials, a place to create in,
peace and quiet, and time enough to make a good job of it) in order to create new projects is always a huge challenge. Ask any creative people you know, they’ll tell you it’s true. Luckily,
a lot of creative people also have a stubborn streak about a mile
wide. They just keep going. It would definitely be easier if they didn’t have to fight for it,
though. Free time shouldn’t be a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Since you’re probably reading this alongside a review for Random
Magic, would just like to take the time to say: Happy reading!

If you do read Random Magic, this is a guide to help you:

Sasha was kind enough to write some reader notes, check them out below..

* The name of the artist, Rasa Oddvilla, is an anagram for Salvador Dalí.

* The Floating City is completely allegorical.

* Only 2000 copies of the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were printed, then discarded as waste paper.

* “Two fathoms” refers to Mark Twain.

* Anagrammatic homage to Douglas Adams in -- Ch. 42, of course.

* Ergot-tainted rye can cause hallucinations. Historians suggest that ergot-tainted rye was the spur for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

* Guédé is a voodoo entity; he guards the gates of the cemetery, and is privy to all the secrets of the dead. He's also known as Baron Samedi. Although he is a much-feared entity, he has a wicked sense of humor. He is fond of children, and will sometimes intervene to spare the life of a dying child.

* The invention of the word game of "doublets" is attributed to Lewis Carroll.

* Hypatia of Alexandria was a mathematician and the victim of a political assassination -- she was torn to pieces by a mob in 415 A.D.

* Professor Literati's eyes are the color of absinthe, a drink which was popular with artists, writers and poets in the 19th century. Absinthe is also referred to by the moniker "The Green Fairy."

* Gone is the feline retort to the paradox of Schrödinger's Cat. He's rumored to be related to the Cheshire Cat, but we can find no definitive proof.

* The nickname "Wiggy" refers both to Beethoven and to Ludwig II of Bavaria, a/k/a the Swan King, the Dream King, and, natch, the Mad King of Bavaria.

* Mort = la mort (death, Fr.)

* Nyx is the goddess of night.

* Charon is the ferryman of the dead. The ancient Greeks buried loved ones with a silver coin under their tongues for Charon, to ensure safe passage.

* Moirtha the cook (one of the Wyrd -- pronounced “weird” -- sisters, related to the Norns) is one of the Moirai.

* The Ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which means ‘soul’ or ‘mind.’ Psyche is linked to Eros, via the love story of Eros and Psyche. Butterflies can also signify thoughts or messages, and when you see a butterfly, it can be a message that good luck or love is coming your way.

* Nevermore is named for the well-known poem, The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe.

* The book Winnie and Henry read in the library is a translation of Der Struwwelpeter, a ghastly/funny children's book of cautionary tales published in 1845. Mark Twain translated the book into English in 1891.

* The woman in the Garden of the Nine Muses is actually a tarot card representing hidden knowledge.

(Book Themes)
Would say some of the themes of the book, apart from the nutty adventures and colorful imagery, would be:

• Magic is everywhere, even in daily life, just have to know where to look
• Always believe in yourself, even if no one else does
• Inside every woman, there is a queen
• Brains can be more useful than brawn, in a lot of cases
• Knowledge is power
• Bravery isn’t a lack of fear, but a willingness to try even when you’re afraid
True beauty is much greater than skin deep
• Loyalty, friendship and love are more valuable than gold
• Magic is: Magic. But it’s also: The power to create art, music, and beauty.
• There is spiritual beauty in physical objects, sometimes
• Humans are mortal, but the things they create are immortal
• It’s foolhardy to underestimate the seemingly small and weak
• Don’t believe everything you see
• One person with courage is a majority
• Never give up
• Love is the most elusive but most powerful magic of all


Anonymous said...

Professor Random. What an awesome character name.

ParaJunkee said...

The book does sound interesting, but is that supposed to be Nicole Kidman on the cover????

Sassy Brit @ said...

OOh what sort of British type terms were there? :) You should have emailed me, I would be very happy to help you out!

Love the sound of this book, and it was a great interview.

Alyssa Kirk said...

Wonderful interview. What an interesting concept. I love it when authors take something familiar and put a new twist on it.
The cover? Yes, totally Nicole Kidman. It even has her new lips!

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Holy shit that cover looks EXACTLY like Nicole Kidman. Wow. But it's cool looking.

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