Jul 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Reivew, Guest Post, and Giveaway -- Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson


Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson

About the Book
Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, this historical fiction novel comes brilliantly to life.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.

In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.

Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Nerd Tours and Tor for review, this in no way effects my review or opinion of the book.


Set in 1906,a young girl named Violet Blake has been having a hard time. Her mother decided to up and leave, taking Violet’s younger brother with her and not explaining to anyone where she was going or why. Violent eventually stumbles upon a mystical artifact, a copper hand, which she believes holds power and magic. It is something new and exciting and when it is take from her along with all hope that her mother will return, she is faced with what could be both life-changing and dangerous decisions.

This book is a gathering of layers of magic and fantasy with historical realism and overwhelming details of life in 1906 and the struggles for the peoples in that period. I found it to be both a bit overwhelming but also beautiful.  This book is being marketed for a young adult audience but I really think that it reads a bit older and that is saying a lot as this is Julia Mary Gibson’s debut novel.

I found the plot to be hurtling forward at times and dragging at others which is why I have not given it a higher rating, but the characters are vibrant and the story overall is a powerful tale. I have seen that some reviewers took the realism and the historical aspects more to heart than the magic and fantastical elements of the story – which is fine. I think that this is one of those books that you can read as a realistic picture with some magic or as purely fantasy. It has a lot more depth than one originally thinks and that is why I enjoyed this book so much.

How to create interesting characters...

It's fascinating how readers relate to fictional characters.  We reflect our histories, our wounds, our prejudices, our desires on characters that a writer has drawn for us.  Some readers like to read about characters who are very much like themselves.  I myself prefer the opposite.  I like to read about people and places that are outside my own experience, so that's what I tend to write about, though there is a component of myself in every character I create.

I've rarely written a character who is exactly me or anyone else, but I do use models.  A character might use the same figures of speech as an obnoxious co-worker I once had, or I might honor the memory of an adult who was kind to me as a child by making a character Russian and fierce and dark-haired, as she was.  What makes a character interesting for me is contradiction.  We all want things we resist actually having.  We undermine ourselves.  We're mean to those we can't live without.

For me, light and shadow make well-drawn characters.  P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins is a mesmerizing blend of warmth, chilliness, wisdom, narcissism, sarcasm, and generosity.  Frances Hodgson Burnett's Mary Lennox is a selfish, spoiled girl whose stubborn willfulness transforms into a dogged belief in the secret garden's healing magic.  Holden Caulfield is depressed yet hopeful.  And these characters are memorable too because of the worlds they inhabit.  Mary Poppins lives in the everyday world of the nursery, but she is well-acquainted with the cosmos as well.  Mary Lennox explores the mysterious beauty of the wild moor and also the hidden rooms of her uncle's sad dark house.  Holden rejects the privilege into which he was born and is searching for the world of authenticity that he envisions.  Scout and Jem Finch's small town is both a safe familiar haven and a place where murder is sanctioned.

Characters, of course, do not have to be human.  Place is often a character.  Time can be a character.  Magic can be.  All these things can be crafted to expose dark and light, humor and tragedy, high principles and utter failings.

We need literature to have a certain logic and order, and we are comforted and grounded by familiar elements.  But the more layered and complex the characters in a story are, the more they remind of us of messy, irrational life.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

 3 Winners will receive a copy of Copper Magic and a Tote Bag by Julia Mary Gibson

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
For a significant chunk of my life I worked with sprocketed celluloid, as a garage animator and in various capacities in the visual effects industry. My colleagues were geniuses and magicians and sorceresses. The work was a blast (sometimes literally – catch me as Frances McDormand’s double in an awesome old-school beamsplitter shot in Sam Raimi’s DARKMAN), but a time came when my own work cried out to be fostered again.

I live in Hollywood, California, surrounded by my four-generation extended family of poets, thespians, dancers, filmworkers, and urban farmers



  1. We watch Pitch Perfect, the Harry Potter series, and the Lord of the Rings series over and over in my house with my teenagers!

    1. Pitch perfect is a fun one to watch and sing a long with... I love it!

  2. Ohhh, magic realism in a book that's set in the 1906? That's interesting enough for my to try out. I'm curious about the multi-layer (or multi-genre?) aspect ofthis one and excited to try it out!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. it was really good, took some getting used to the style though.

  3. I loved this book. It was a great read, and I was highly impressed with it. So much so that I'm now trying to badger my roommate into read it too. :p

    Movies I can watch over and over? Old standby favourites, such as the Harry Potter movies, or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Memoirs of a Geisha is also on there. So is 13 Going on 30 (which is a surprisingly good romantic comedy, and I'm saying that as someone who doesn't tend to like romantic comedies), and Queen of the Damned (which is meant to be action/horror but instead just makes me laugh so much that it always cheers me up when I'm feeling low).

    1. i love books that we try to force on others because they are SO GOOD :) luckily my friends know that I do it and they don't think I am crazy :P.

      Some romantic comedies are surprisingly good movies to re-watch, I agree :)

  4. This sounds like a really fun read. I love character driven books. Thanks for the review, Steph!

    I'm going to have to go with the flock, Harry Potter and LOTR are movies I me and my family can watch over and over!

    1. No worries, HP and LOTR are awesome picks, I would have picked them too:)