Thursday, 23 February 2012

Completed: Mageborn: The Blacksmiths Son by Michael Manning

Originally posted September 20, 2011 on tumblr

I Love fantasy, when it comes to novels it’s the Genre i tend to default to. I love seeing authors interpretations of magic systems, or how they deal with things if there are other beings like elves or fairies with humans, most of all i just tend to like the characters.

Things that i don’t tend to like? Inconsistencies.
Maybe i’m just too stubborn but i hate when things don’t pick a format and stick with it.
So with that preamble out of the way…. onto the review.

AT the beginning there is a little prologue explaining how a castle was attacked and how all but a few were killed, one was a baby the other was someone in the dungeon but we don’t find out about that till much later and it’s not really ever flushed out.

The book proper starts with us being introduced to a young boy who eventually tells us, yes this book is in first person, that his name is Mordecai just in case he hadn’t mentioned it before…. so it’s first person and he is telling US… the reader.

We meet his friend Marc who is the son of a Lord and they just happen to be friends because….. it furthers the plot… to be fair to do give some reason but i can’t remember.
Marc, after seeing his friend save a drowning horse with what only could be magic, convinces Mort (yes thats the same he goes by…) to come by his home and stay for the festivities and even pretend to be a lord.

yeah that can’t go wrong.

soon were introduced to main love interest Penny and Tough guy guard Dorian, the 4 are all childhood friends despite their difference positions in the class system.

so eventually other guests arrive… a girl names rose who seems to know more then she ever lets on, a jerk name Devon who’s sole purpose in life is to be a Asshole and our main adversary… Mort notices he’s got a nasty feeling purple aura… in fact mort notices he can see many odd auras on people and objects.

Devon has it in for Mort right away and does everything he can to embarrass and possibly even kill him.

parallel to this we have Mort finding a book that describes magic…. which he proceeds to read, fully understand and even experiment with…. Without a teacher.
Then suddenly we are in 3rd person….
wait….. what?

nearing the halfway mark of the book we suddenly get views from other characters were are in 3rd person. so wait is he still telling us this? how does he know what happened when he wasn’t around? i doubt Devon would tell him after the fact so mort could tell other people…
then suddenly chapters get names…. while up to a point they were just standard “chapter 1” and so on….

And thus we have hit on my main issue with this book.
It had such potential…. i hate first person but if it had stuck with it and never seen what other characters were up to except when mort himself saw them… well that can make for an interesting narrative. In fact all the chapters that had 3rd person bits felt unnecessary.

Also how far ahead from the event and who the story is being told to isn’t explained… at least not in the first book… but that leads to another problem… if mort is telling the story…. we know he wont die… because he has to tell the story from a later date.

Finally everything is far to easy for mort, the magic, the money, the power, even the girl… he works hard for things yes but it comes much to easily in my opinion.

STILL this is the authors first book, i’m sure with time and an editor to tell him “telling the audience how brilliant your character is constantly will only serve to piss them off” and more experience with writing he could really be good, i enjoyed his magic system a lot and i love the little except from ‘marcus the hieratic’ at the start of every chapter though i feel like if i read only those in order it would just around a little too much… still overall is has potential…. maybe once he has a few more books under his belt i’ll give him another shot…. for now though…. it’s time to read Ghost trackers 2…. looking forward to that.

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