Against all odds to pursue their dreams
Mika Collins is a newly out of work English teacher in South Korea. After finding herself wondering what she will do next she is visited by her impetuous childhood friend Isabelle who has schemed to visit her friend under less than honest reasons. After spending a night out in Seoul with a virtual stranger Mika is presented with an opportunity that she had never dreamed possible. But can her and Izzy overcome the inherent racism that a young African American woman faces in South Korea to achieve their dreams of becoming K-Pop stars? With even their label mates seemingly against them, these two have their work cut out for them.
Magix, by K. McCoy is a fanciful imagining of two young ladies’ pursuit of achieving their dreams of becoming K-Pop artists. To be honest, where I am in this current stage of my life this was a very anticipated read for me. Having also recently immersed myself into “all things K” from music, food, television to even teaching myself the language I thought that this book would be the best of both worlds as all of my current interests come meshing together. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I really hate to say that because this premise had so much potential, but I did not feel as it if was very well developed. The story overall was cute and I laughed out loud at times at Izzy’s antics and also openly gasped at some of the treatment girls received, but I felt most of the time that I was not reading a book that I had purchased, but a fan fiction.
Izzy’s character was almost a jarring stereotype of a “Koreaboo”, with her over the top dress, loud outbursts, and almost total disregard for the culture. Mika on the other hand, felt more like Izzy’s mother instead of a lifelong best friend with her too strict attitude and scolding demeanor. I get that the difference between these two characters is part of what drives the book, and I get that Izzy’s passion basically slaps Mika out of her slump of “safety” to get her to take a chance but I didn’t feel a bond of friendship between the two girls. Xiao Mei, on the other hand, had so much potential to be the villainess in this story and it seemed that was here McCoy was taking her, but with the book clocking in at a little over 100 pages, I really felt that her development was lacking.
For me, this really did not feel like a complete story but a decent start to a larger series. I would like to see McCoy come back with a better fleshed out, more in depth follow up that details MAGIX’s activities, hardships, triumphs, and challenges after debut. McCoy has only scratched the surface with this book and while I may not have loved it, I did like it enough that I am curious to see what happens next.