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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry Kindle Edition
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The characters are engaging. Burke has an excellent grasp of using dialogue for characterization. The plot is an interesting twist of inter-realm dependency and travel versus the half-fae savior of the world.
While I didn't guess every twist (kudos to the author for that), I did shake my head at some of the harrowing escapes and almost-too-good-to-believe saves. Although it isn't a YA book, it is perfectly appropriate for that audience.
A few problems: sudden changes of heart for most of the characters without adequate build-up and the incredible power of a relatively novice magic user once in a different realm (and while explained by the circumstances it still seemed like a reach).
I'll be thrilled to read the next installment. Burke is one of those authors whose writing improves with every book and who isn't afraid to push beyond genre expectations.
If you like sarcastic characters, unlikely heroes and major magical intrigue, you'll want to read this book.
Synopsis (from the author): An estranged son. An adopted heir. A magical attack that forces them to work together.
The disappearance of Auric Spellsmith’s mother has strained his relationship with his father to the breaking point. Now, after five years away at the Magicians’ Academy, Auric returns home, determined to prove himself to his father and claim his birthright.
Apprentice Jericho Carver has held Spellsmith Manor together in Auric’s absence. Now his master’s son is back, and if he can’t get rid of Auric, Jericho will forfeit his career and lose all hope of wooing the master’s enchanting daughter.
Neither man intends to back down.
But then Master Spellsmith vanishes into the mysterious Fey Lands. With Fey magic threatening the mortal realm, Auric and Jericho must work together to save the man they both see as father.
What I liked: I enjoyed the interesting was magic was cast in the story. The story also showed a stark contrast between old and new ways of spellcasting (both have their advantages and disadvantages), and the use of Fey energy was cool. There were many underlying storylines in the book, which kept me entertained. Jericho and Rill’s romantic chemistry complemented the story nicely and set the stage for much of the rivalry between Jericho and Auric. Despite their rivalry, the two magicians set all aside to rescue Auric’s dad, giving the story its quest element and action. All in all, Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rivalry was a good read!
What I didn’t like: There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the book. First, the cliché strained relationship between Auric and his father was too predictable. Secondly, the rivalry between Auric and Jericho seemed contrived. Other than that, no complaints from me and both were minor.
Overall impression: I liked the storyline, the underlying conflicts, and unique spellcasting. The journey into the Fey lands had enough twists and surprises to hold my attention and the book was well-written. I would recommend this one to any fantasy fan!
My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)
Gaslight/steampunk fantasy is quickly becoming a favorite subgenere of mine, and I think I'm going to blame that on HL Burke. She makes such intricate and neatly detailed worlds along with relatable characters and some amazing humor.
Auric and Jericho probably couldn't be more different, and they're determined to hate each other in the beginning. But after being forced to work together, they develop a truly wonderful friendship. I was laughing the entire time at their banter and little brotherly moments towards the end. The magic system was neat and I like how they had to draw spells and all the details and calculations that had to be made to cast it just right. Made for some interesting spells and/or mishaps. :P
I should have written this when it was all fresh on my mind, because it was an awesome book! I'm really looking forward to continuing the series because it looks like it only gets more epic from here. :)