Misfit's Magic

Shades of Winter

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
314 Pages
Reviewed on 11/01/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Misfit's Magic: Shades of Winter is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and action subgenres, and it serves as the second book in the series after The Last Halloween. It is intended for young adult readers but can also be enjoyed by mature middle-grade readers and the young at heart. Penned by author Fred Gracely, this enthralling urban fantasy takes readers on a spellbinding journey filled with magic, humor, and suspense. The story revolves around Goff, who believed he had left the world of magic behind. However, fate has other plans, and he's pulled back into a world he thought he'd escaped. Attending a boarding school that felt like home, Goff and his friends find themselves thrust into a sinister plot to create a new magical empire backed by wealthy and influential figures. They must uncover a way to thwart these malevolent plans, or everything they hold dear will be in jeopardy.

Author Fred Gracely has crafted a compelling fantasy tale that's brimming with humor, magical intrigue, and the deeply enjoyable drama of boarding school life. The narrative is full of epic battles, monstrous creatures, and memorable characters, and the author brings these to life with descriptive lexis that goes beyond the cinematic to give a multi-sensory, immersive experience. The plot is filled with unexpected twists and moves at a pace where there’s never a dull moment, yet everything works smoothly within the internal logic and worldbuilding of the tale so that you always feel satisfied with the outcomes. Overall, Misfit's Magic: Shades of Winter is a mighty sequel that keeps you engaged from start to finish with its rich world-building and compelling storytelling, and I would highly recommend it to fantasy fans everywhere.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

After their haunting experiences from last Halloween, Goff would have liked nothing better than to stay away from all traces of magic. He wants to spend his days at Amworth in peace with his best friends, Halstrom and Lydia. Yet, Goff’s hopes shatter when he realizes that four kids from their school have established a secret coven. A garden fountain shows the signs of being touched by something dark. A character from their past appears in the school, ushering them away to participate in an experiment. Should Goff and his friends travel to a place where several killings have occurred recently? Are the mysterious events at his school related to the reports of slaughter? Can the friends solve the mystery and escape unscathed? To learn more, read Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter by Fred Gracely.

Although this book is the second in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a stand-alone novel. Fred Gracely created a dark and malicious atmosphere that served as the perfect setting. The storyline undulated between slightly spooky and downright macabre, offering an unforgettable read. There was no shortage of magical adventures, each chapter leading to something new and thrilling. A feeling of inevitable doom haunted me from the beginning and kept me anticipating an epic encounter between good and evil. At the same time, I loved the well-developed characters. The bonds between the friends kept a beacon of hope alive even during the darkest times. Gracely even made us empathize with a morally gray character by showing their slow descent into darkness in a sympathetic light. Dashes of humor and budding romance offset the dark themes. Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter will be perfect for the fans of Wednesday, the TV show.

Nino Lobiladze

Goff refuses to deal with any magic in his life. He enjoys the school year with his friends, Lydia and Halstrom, at Amworth boarding school. But one night, Goff has a nightmare that is too realistic to ignore. Then, the water in the park fountain becomes bad, killing the fish, and rich students start to behave suspiciously. Goff sees an obscure figure of a mysterious stranger lurking in the vicinity of the school and recognizes the man from his nightmare. Dempsey from the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation asks Goff and his friends to participate in a secret experiment that includes magic. Something sinister is brewing within the solid walls of Amworth, and Goff must solve this riddle quickly. Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter by Fred Gracely, the second book in a series, is a thrilling urban fantasy for young adult readers.

Fred Gracely's world-building is unique and imaginative. Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter offers an unusual concept of magic and its way of working through the elements, called nexies. Fred has a beautiful, descriptive writing style that will enrich the vocabulary of young adult readers and tease their imaginations. Also, I enjoyed the dialogue very much. The interactions between the characters are meaningful and witty. I especially liked the humorous exchanges between Lydia and Halstrom. The characters are well-developed and lovable. Goff, Lydia, and Halstrom each have their own unforgettable features, like Halstrom's stubbornness or Goff's compassionate heart. Fred touches on important themes for young adult readers, such as the concept of home and social injustice. The narrative is full of action. Fred artfully combines the adventurous aspect of the book with elements of horror. The story has a logical conclusion, but the epilogue hints at further exciting adventures.

Afifa Raisa

Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter by Fred Gracely is an enthralling book aimed at young adults. It follows the story of Goff, a teenage boy who thinks he has finally found a peaceful home in the boarding school that he attends. He wishes to stay away from magic for himself as well as his best friends, but it unexpectedly reappears in his life. The beginning of the winter holidays marks the start of yet another magical adventure for Goff, an adventure that is surrounded by deep and dark mysteries. Being constantly haunted by the fear of losing his friends, Goff must proceed knowing that one wrong decision may cost him everything he has ever valued - a happy home, a steady life, and the most “perfectly imperfect” best friends he can ask for.

Fred Gracely’s Misfit’s Magic: Shades of Winter held me captive in its magical world from the beginning till the end. The characters are amusing as well as intriguing, and each of them comes with their own unique traits. One of the best aspects of the story is the witty dialogue. I also appreciated the beautiful way in which Fred has portrayed the bond between the characters; he wonderfully illustrated that warmth and affection come in all shapes and sizes. The way he attempted to provide a different perspective of viewing the villains instead of dismissing them as outright evil entities also deserves praise. The book is magnificent, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of young adult fantasy.

Jaqueline Neves

Misfit's Magic by Fred Gracely is a captivating young adult urban fantasy that draws readers into a world of magic, mystery, and adventure. The story revolves around Goff, a young man who believed he had left the world of magic behind after saving the world previously, only to find himself thrust back into its midst. At the boarding school of his dreams, he and his friends become entangled in a sinister scheme to establish a new magical empire with the backing of wealthy and influential individuals. To protect the people he cares about, Goff must unravel the plot and put an end to it before it's too late. The book is sure to enchant both young and mature readers who are fans of urban fantasy as it offers a thrilling and enchanting adventure that keeps you turning the pages.

Fred Gracely showcases exceptional storytelling skills in Misfit's Magic. The plot is well-crafted, offering a compelling mix of suspense and excitement. The pace of the story keeps readers engaged, with a perfect balance between moments of action and character development. The characters are vibrant and memorable, each with their unique qualities and contributions to the story. Themes of friendship, the battle between good and evil, and the power of magic are expertly woven into the narrative, providing depth and resonance. Gracely's writing style is immersive and evocative, making it easy to become engrossed in the magical world he has created. Overall, Misfit's Magic is a must-read for those seeking a well-crafted, urban fantasy novel with a rich plot, engaging characters, and thought-provoking themes.