Confidence and the Art of Magic by R. G. Thomas
January 09

Confidence and the Art of Magic by R. G. Thomas

My Young Adult series, The Town of Superstition, follows the adventures of Thaddeus Cane, the fifteen-year-old son of a single father, Nathan. When we first meet Thaddeus at the beginning of The Midnight Gardener—The Town of Superstition: Book One, it is summertime and he is unpacking in his room at a new house in a town with a unique name: Superstition. It's the thirty-second time they've moved, and although Thaddeus is used to being uprooted and forced to make new friends, he's getting tired of it. His father never has a very good explanation for why they are moving, and the decision seems to be made in a rush. As a result of this lifestyle, Thaddeus is lonely and a bit withdrawn. But he is naturally curious and goes off to explore this new, strangely named town.

Their move to Superstition turns out to be decidedly different from all the other moves, and it is a decision that will drastically change not only Thaddeus's life, but his father's as well. During the course of the first book, Thaddeus uncovers the answers to many of the questions he has had all his life. While a number of these mysteries reveal unexpected resolutions, Thaddeus is probably most surprised to discover that he is the son of a wizard and a witch. And because of this lineage, he has the power to perform magic.

The second book of the series, The Well of Tears—The Town of Superstition: Book Two, opens as Thaddeus and his father set off on a journey along with a few newfound friends. Included in this traveling group is Teofil, Thaddeus's first boyfriend. Their journey has just begun when Thaddeus's father is wounded, leaving the entire odyssey in question. Nathan encourages Thaddeus and Teofil to continue without him as the objective of their trip is much too important. After some discussion, Thaddeus agrees, and he, Teofil, and Teofil's brother and sister set off on their own through the Lost Forest.

As they make their way through the dark, spooky forest, Thaddeus discovers that the ability to perform magic takes great skill and can be unpredictable. It seems as if now that he's aware of the power within him, it comes through in times of great danger or stress. While Thaddeus appreciates the magical help, he wishes he had more control over it. But this ability does not just happen. It is a skill like any other that can only be learned through patience and hours of practice. His ability to willfully call upon magic increases throughout the second book, but he still struggles to understand the scope of this newly found power. In the third book of the series, The Battle of Iron Gulch—The Town of Superstition: Book Three, Thaddeus receives instruction on how to control his power. His abilities slowly take shape, and as his mastery with magic improves, so does his confidence. Or is it the other way around?

While Thaddeus learns to control and manipulate magic, he must also complete the epic journey he embarked on with his father, Teofil, and the others, all of whom are themselves magical beings. Throughout the course of his journey, Thaddeus is called upon to make increasingly adult decisions, each of which impacts not only Thaddeus himself, but the rest of his traveling companions, and affects the group's ability to achieve the ultimate goal of their quest. As they near their final destination, the choices he is faced with become more important, and he has less time to consider his actions. With all that he has learned and experienced over the previous books in the series, however, the third book finds Thaddeus feeling confident enough to make these difficult decisions, some of which are a matter of life and death. It is possible that not all their group will survive the showdown that looms at the end of the third book, but Thaddeus has gained enough confidence to make the decisions required, and, hopefully, carry the outcome of those decisions with him going forward.


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