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I do think that it is a game both of you (Universal Head and Wonder Slug) would enjoy.

And to answer your questions:
Yes, there are pre-made spellbooks for each of the mages included. There are also “apprentice” spellbooks which are used in your first or some plays and have less cards in them (this is also played on just half the board). It’s fun to learn the game that way. You don’t have too many cards (and none of the more complex ones) and a small arena to make a quick battle. One spellbook consists of about 55 cards. But once you start creating your own that number can change quite a bit.
You can of course sort the spells in your book by type, which will have you flipping through it less to find something you want (a creature for example). Also you have to choose two spells at the beginning of each turn and take them out of your book. These two are the only spells you can use during that turn. So you wont be flipping through your book the whole time, only in the planning phase.

Still in your first play (or even more) you will do a lot of flipping and reading the cards because you have no idea what you can do, what a good decision is and what not. The rules and overall mechanic are very intuitive though. Everything works the way you think it should. Turns are interesting because players switch after each action. So it’s a lot of quick reacting (which is of course limited by having to choose two spells for each turn. You’ll have to predict and plan ahead a lot)

Overall i’d say it has a very steep learning curve. Hitting you with all those things you first have to know. But once you played it and read everything you already reached the plateau of that curve. So even when you only play it once every few months, you still know what things you are able to do.