This review perfectly catches why The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment appeal to Harry Potter fans and yet are really nothing like Harry Potter.
Alright guys, I have a confession to make. Even though I’m most definitely not part of the generation that grew up on Harry Potter, I have an addiction to it. I follow HP Facebook groups. I’ve gotten both of my daughters hooked on it. I’m a flat out J.K Rowling fanboi to the point that I even know that it’s pronounced like “bowling.” (Note to international readers: Most Americans don’t know that. They pronounce it like the ow in “cow”.) So when I picked up a copy of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter, I was pretty amazed.
The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is most definitely not a Harry Potter clone, but it has some similar elements that made it feel simultaneously comfortable and exciting. Why? Well, it takes place in a boarding school. The inhabitants of the World of the Wise (as magic users call themselves) also like to ride around on brooms, although Rachel’s is definitely unlike any other broom I’ve ever read about anywhere. And, of course, it is a fantasy story set approximately in modern times. I love that aspect of it.