The Invitation by Carla Jablonski (The Books of Magic #1) Book Review

The Invitation

Book Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: The Books of Magic Series Book #1
Author: Carla Jablonski
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 2003)
ISBN: 0064473791, EAN: 9780064473798
Page Count: 256 pages
Format: paperback

Target Age Group: children ages 9-12
My Rating: 3/5 stars, Probably a Better Comic Book Than YA Novel


Timothy Hunter is a typical 13-year old boy, living in London with his uncaring father and worrying about looking cool and how to ride his skateboard better when four trenchcoated strangers appear. Turns out that Tim could be the most powerful magician of all time, but he has to choose whether he wants to live in the magical world or the unmagical one. Seems like a simple choice, right? But Tim is not sure which choice is correct, so he asks to see a sample of the magical world so that he knows what he is choosing..

First he travels to the past with the Stranger where he sees the creation of the Earth and different ages through time, including a meeting with Merlin. Then he travels through the present with John Constantine, who whisks him off to New York City to have his fortune read and then to San Francisco to meet the world-famous magician Zatanna. From there, Dr. Occult takes him to visit the world of Faerie where Tim is kidnapped by Baba Yaga and the Faerie Queen tries to keep him in her court. Then Tim is on a trip to the future with Mister E, where he discovers what the future will be like if he turns to dark magic. After his whirlwind trips to the 4 realms, Tim must decide if becoming a magician is worth the price that he must pay.


This was an okay story, but nothing really spectacular happens in it. It feels like nothing happens, really, except Tim keeps going from place to place meeting new people and seeing new things. I found that I didn’t really care for Tim a whole lot and I certainly had no feelings for the 4 mysterious people who took him on his journeys, but maybe they are more developed in the next story. Anyway, I am sure that the fantastic trips that Tim takes look much better in the comic book story, but they do not do as well here in this novelization. I don’t even really feel like it is the author’s fault, necessarily, but with other books out there about teenage wizards (such as Harry Potter), this book really pales in comparison.


This book contains some violence and fighting, but there is nothing too graphic or inappropriate for children. Tim has a very uninterested family and is willing to go off with strangers on a whim, which I don’t really recommend. Appropriate for children ages 8 and up.

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Filed under Children's Books, Fantasy Books

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