Saturday, 4 February 2012

Completed: A Touch of Magic By Gregory Mahan

This is the first blog i wrote since creating a blog spot, all my other reviews are older and will post over the next month or two... but i figured i should post this one today.

I really should have been painting… or working with after effects…. but i just can’t help it when i get in these reading moods.

Anyways having read a bunch of different fantasy novels this past (well… i started reading more since i got my kindle…. so i guess 6ish months…) i have learned certain common things i tend to like and dislike.

yes there are obvious ones like i prefer character having to work hard to obtain power instead of it just kind of being there.
example: Kylar needs the Ka’kari before his magic circuit is even functional while in Mageborn the main character just seems to have everything work out because he is amazing oh and he happens to also be a noble and suddenly has land and power and why do i care?

I tend to like simpler magic systems over the complex ones…
Example: The Belgariad has the will and the word where if you have enough will you can utter a single word to have something happen… as long as that word isn’t begone or undo because while things can be created things cannot be unmade and the spell will reverse on you.

I also prefer character driven stories. now many may argue “but all stories are driven by the characters in them”
yeah i can’t argue that but i find some stories are effected by the characters in the world more then others.
Again going back to the belgariad which has A LOT of character, each with their own individual personalities and i’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite among them (probably mandorallen or Belgarath… or Silk… or relg…. hm… think i just proved my point) and i’d also have a hard time saying “i don’t like that character”… hell i even kind of pity Torak…. you know… the big bad. but this is a story where i care about the characters more so then the plot.
My counter argument to that i guess would be Lord of the rings. Nothing against JRR Tolkien, the man is a great writer…. i will never read any of his other books again… his books have lots of characters… but i find they are kind of inconsequential… anyone could really bring the ring to mordor…. it didn’t really have to be frodo… plus i didn’t like any of the characters…
the last thing i tend to like are series… just because only having 300ish pages in a world seems like too little.

now why would i bring all this up? Mainly because a touch of magic has elements from all those categories and i wanted to make my Bias clear before starting this.
The story is a bout a boy, Randall, who seems to be second rate at everything…. one day after being humiliated by his friend at a job fare he seems to summon magic…. before doing anything with it though he gets hit on the head and obtains a nasty concussion. an older man, Earl, finds him and informs him that he could be a mage… which is outlawed in this land… he informs the boy that he will be the mans apprentice and leaves.
Randall thinks it’s all a joke until he arrives home and Earl pretty much buys him from his father. after swearing the apprentice oath he goes on the start of his long journey.
going back to what i like in fantasy… he has to work really hard to get his magic to work… when it does work it is extremely powerful but it does take it’s toll on the boy… still nothing comes too easily…

However the magic system in the world is complex.
there are many different types of magic:

Rune: written magic that you need to be in close contact with to have work
Word: Spoken magic which can only be performed on others.
Elemental: never really explained… well it is but the most we get is if you  carve a rune on a certain type of material it may make it work longer or better.
Will: not explained because only elves, fea and other such creatures can use it… men cannot
Later on we hear about summoning which is self explanatory and how some people use wands and some don’t though it’s not really clear why other then some mages are elitists?

so on top all that we have to believe that people who use magic draw it from a world known as Llandra and that the magic pulled from there has to be given purpose or it’ll just kinda fade away.
Despite it being so complex i didn’t mind since rune and word where the most focused on but it does make me wonder why even both mentioning the other three if they barely ever get a mention…
however i liked Randall as a character. He’s young, 14 at the started and i think 17 or 18 by the end. you see him grow and that’s interesting… i even like a lot of the side characters though part of me wishes that they were fleshed out more and they could have gotten more development had this book been a series instead of a one shot (which i’m not completely sure if it is as the ending is pretty open but i’m not seeing anything else by Gregory Mahan.)

so although i liked this book in the end thanks to some things never being expanded on (specifically a familiar he gets shortly after the halfway mark which everyone seems to be afraid of and they do say why but it’s never fully realized.) and it’s short length (kindle says it’s 279 pages… in my books anything less then 500 is short… maybe i’m alone in that thought though….) i felt like there could have been more.

and who knows maybe there will be… if you like fantasy give it a try
at the end of the book it gives a link to his blog
so yeah… guess i have to browse for more novels to read as i’m still in a reading mood….
or maybe i should finish my homework…. decision decisions.
anyways any suggestions on books would be great.

edit: quickly reading his blog he mentions that he’s working on book 2 of this series… looking forward to it

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