Soulmates, Bandmates, Teammates: The Magic Between by Stephanie Hoyt

The Magic Between von Stephanie Hoyt | 💜💜💜
erschienen bei NineStar Press | Februar 2022
428 Seiten | eBook | ISBN: 9781648904349
Goodreads | Thalia | Amazon (Werbung)

Content notes for Stephanie Hoyt’s The Magic Between: bierasure, queermisia

  • AB is continuously faced with biearasure by his fans and the media
  • A large part of this story is about coming out as an athlete and the queermisia permeating that field

Representation: both main characters are bisexual men, a bunch of side characters is also queer (including lesbian, pan and trans rep), one of the mcs deals with OCD and anxiety

Who names their main character AB? AB Cerise?! Every time I saw that name on page, my brain started singing the alphabet and, holy hell, was that annoying. Add to that the fact that Stephanie Hoyt’s style of writing in The Magic Between is … something of an acquired taste and you can probably guess why I had a really hard time warming up to the story. Seriously, I am still not able to pinpoint what exactly it was about the writing that was so off-putting to me but I think it had to do a lot with AB’s name and the feeling that the type of narrator used in the story seemed to fluctuate – while Matthew’s POV felt like it had a very stable third-person narrator, the one in AB’s chapters seemed to randomly switch between just relaying his POV and commenting on it in an off-hand way. I don’t know, but it was weird and something that bugged me until the very end of the book … But more about said book!

The Magic Between is set in a world in which magic is very much real and everyone has some kind of magic. Seriously, everyone has magic in this world, it is simply everywhere and there’s also a legend about how magic can create bonds between people and whatnot. But there’s also a lot of taboo and whatnot around actually showing off your magic and while the author did try to explain not only the kinds of magic that exist but also why there’s this stigma on practicing magic publicly in a very infodumpy intro, I was still left somewhat confused and sceptical. Seriously, why is displaying your magic such a big deal if everyone has it and a bunch of people have to publicly announce what kind of magic they have anyways?

In general, a lot of this book felt like it didn’t really lead anywhere and while most of the things that never got resolved were very minor, they did add up. It made the entire story feel very unpolished and the magical backdrop somewhat unfinished and just that – a backdrop for a fluffy romcom and nothing more. And I think that hurt the romance quite a bit – because there are two integral parts to this: AB’s OCD, his fear of the public knowing about his magic and his resulting refusal to have a relationship and Matthew’s struggle with his sexuality and coming-out as a prominent figure in sports. And while it starts out with AB and his troubles being the focus of the story, they just fade to the back and are kind of replaced by Matthew’s only to then be quietly resolved off-page, basically – there even is a scene about this, which honestly was kind of ironical to read.

All in all, I thought that The Magic Between had a lot of potential – both in the magic world Stephanie Hoyt created and in the amazing supporting characters she wrote – but most of it was just a backdrop to a love story that, while managing to be both sweet and dealing with serious topics, just felt flat at points. In addition to a style of writing that, for me, was sometimes hard to read without being annoyed by it, there were a lot of minor things that seemed underdeveloped and they added up to make the whole story somewhat unsatisfying. This wasn’t a bad book, but I felt like it could really have used a bit more polishing and maybe a clearer focus here and there.

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