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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Joachim's Magic by M.L. Stainer is a young adult novel set during that early period of American history when the colonists were arriving from England to settle the New World. Joachim's Magic is primarily about the life and story of Reis Courtney, a young boy in his early teens, and the master to whom he is apprenticed, Joachim Gans. The story starts off with a glimpse into the hard life of an apprentice as they learn the trade. Reis’ lot is better than some of his contemporaries who work under laborious and, at times, abusive conditions. Joachim is a strict but fair teacher, a famous metallurgist, and also the first known Jew in the New World. As they start on a mining expedition in search of gold, silver, and copper in present day Virginia and North Carolina, they encounter many perils including the Indians who fight against them. When they get kidnapped by the Indian chief, Pemisapan, Joachim has to weigh the odds, decide if the time has come to use “magic,” and find the best outcome for all.
Joachim's Magic by M.L. Stainer is an engaging read and I was immediately drawn into it from page one. Although the book is fiction, the setting and some of the characters are taken from real life people. The book moves at a good pace and, along with having all the elements of a good adventure story, it also imparts some life lessons along the way. Reis’ character is very well portrayed as a young but mature boy who comes into his own on his path to manhood. All in all, this is a great adventure and I would recommend it to readers of all ages.