Fabrizio is an orphan boy who has just been taken into the home of Mangus the Magician and his wife, Mistress Sophia. While Sophia has become attached to the boy, Mangus thinks ill of Fabrizio and wants him to go. When Mistress Sophia leaves to see her ill sister, she asks Fabrizio to try to win a place in the old magician's heart so that he can always live with them. Fabrizio prepares himself to perform the tasks needed and to do his best so his master will love him. Fabrizio goes to his master's next magic show; however, it is overshadowed by a man in a black cloak approaching him to warn him that his master is in danger. Knowing that real magic is outlawed in Pergamontio, Fabrizio is worried about his master's safety. However, when Pergamontio's Primo Magistrato comes to their door, accusing Mangus of publishing papers that spoke against the king, magically, Fabrizio's worry has only just begun.
I'm not impressed.
I'm not even a bit excited about this book. After about 175 pages, I began skimming, hoping it would end well.
I was quite disappointed.
Avi has always been a wonderful author. My favorite of his is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but he has written others such as Poppy, Ragweed, and The End of the Beginning. However, it was the mastery and cleverness of Midnight Magic that made me want to read this book. Midnight Magic is about Mangus and Fabrizio, but can be read as a prequal, sequal, or stand-alone book next to Muder at Midnight. Midnight Magic was full of complicated mysteries, great twists and believable characters. Murder at Midnight held a mystery that can easily be explained, nothing to look forward to, and flat characters. I was surprised and bummed that it wasn't better, especially after such great experiences with Avi's works of art.
But don't let this review stop you from reading Avi's other fantastic books. Enjoy them, relish them, and let them inspire you. Get caught up in the magic of his stories. I can only hope he hasn't lost his charm for the future...