Very Nice Review of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin




Lamplighter’s world is superficially similar to Rowling’s. It takes place here on Earth, more or less at the present day. The vast bulk of the population know nothing of magic; the remainder, known as the Wise, refer to them as the Unwary, and take careful steps to remain hidden from them. But it strikes me as deeper than Rowling’s, more fully put together; I find the explanations for why things are as they are more satisfying. As an example, the Wise use little in the way of modern technology, having magical equivalents, just as in the Potterverse. But this is because they can’t: use of magic disrupts technology (as in the Dresden Files), while heavy use of technology disrupts magic. You can use one or the other, but not both. In the Potterverse, there’s no obvious reason why the people of the Wizarding World couldn’t use electric light and radios and television the way Muggles do.

And then, Lamplighter had a great deal of fun fitting her magical world into history and literature. Roanoke was founded by Virginia Dare, of the lost Roanoke Colony; it was lost because Dare, a powerful enchantress, turned it into a floating island, and founded the Academy. Roanoke roamed all over the world for many years before settling down in the Hudson River under a spell of obscuration.