The Fire Seer (Coalition of Mages Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 407 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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But what really impressed me about the book was the tone of the story. Fantasy books with a murder mystery plot are not atypical, you can find them anywhere. The Fire Seer, however, more a murder mystery set in a fantasy world then a fantasy with a murder mystery plot. Magic exists, but the characters don't rely on it for everything. In fact, they spend the majority of the book asking questions, reading reports, gathering evidence, and bouncing possible scenarios and suspects off each other then using magic to give them answers. Its refreshing and makes me admire the amount of intelligence the characters have when they finally figure out everything.
In all, I highly recommend this book with only one warning. There is sexual content in this book, as well as descriptions of abuse and assault.
This fantasy world is quite interesting, and the two central characters are developed with a fine attention to detail, including chapters that reveal their previous history.
If you have magic, you are brought to the Coalition and told that you can join or drink Kimat, potion that eliminates your magic if you drink a whole vial. If you join, you undergo 9 years of intensive training to use your magical powers and afterward apparently you are at the beck and call of Coalition leaders.
People who practice magic without membership in the Coalition are called jackals. Coalition members hunt them down and kill them by burning without mercy. Thus, this society controlled its magical members. Taya is a fire seer, possessing a particular talent of using fire to scry the past and investigate crimes.
The ruling caste of this society has a practice of having one or more princes married to the same woman. The Harappans believe that the more seed is provided the woman, the stronger the children. This is a fascinating misunderstanding of the biology of procreation, but a reasonable error in a primitive society.
At the temple where she trained, Taya was stalked by Mandir, a boy of the ruling class who fell in love with her but treated her with derision and abuse. He nearly killed her in a prank and Taya developed a strong antipathy against him as a result. Alternate chapters in the book flashed back to that period.
The book begins with Taya meeting with the magistrate of a town. She is to be part of a two-person team sent to solve the a triple murder by a jackel. Her team partner turns out to be Mandir. They have to work together to solve the murders. I cannot tell more without giving away the story.
The story is well constructed with great suspense and character building. But, best of all, as the author wrote at the end of the book, the Harrapans are a real civilization situated in what is now modern day Pakistan at around 2600 BC, contemporaneous with the ancient Egyptians. The author tried hard to keep to what is known about the Harrapan society.
The Harappans were a bronze-age people who formed one of the first civilizations to have toilets and sewers, described in the book. They had a caste-based society that likely believed in magic. The author explained that she included horses even though humans had not yet domesticated horses at that time and therefore had to improvise clothing for Taya for riding horses.
There is a sex scene towards that end that is not suitable for young children. However, it is reasonable book for mature teenagers. It does portend an interesting series of Bronze Age detective novels.