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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry Kindle Edition
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|Length: 207 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 4.8 -- Plot is engaging from start to finish. Has many unique elements, no major holes, and a sense of focus. Setting is clear and believable. Timeline may be a bit hard to follow. Lots of things to love about this book. Magic (and very solid, creative world-building), complicated family dynamics, adventure, friendship, romance, sacrifice, and a happy ending. It's great, and while this story is certainly complete on its own, I'd love to read more.
Characters: 5 -- Relatable, realistic, interesting, dynamic characters. Even minor characters have depth, as do the relationships between characters. Great characters, and the complexities of their relationships are fantastic. We definitely get to know Auric and Jericho, learning where they come from and how they think. And though there's not quite as much about Rill, Hedward, Iris, or Janus, they are all complex, dynamic characters. Love the healing and growth in all of them.
Mechanics and Writing: 4.9 -- A handful of typos, punctuation issues, or word errors. (<8/100 pgs) None of the errors seriously hinder understanding. Intelligent use of POV. Skillful writing that adds to the story. Errors include: compound word confusion, mild punctuation issues and minor typos. POV alternates between Auric, Jericho, and (to a lesser degree) Rill.
Redeeming Value: 4 -- Partially focused uplifting themes or lessons. Drugs, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified, though there is some shaky ground. No explicit sex scenes. Implied moral guidelines for behavior. Some kisses between Rill and Jericho, and fantasy-type violence as our heroes try to stay alive in the Fey world. Mention of Jericho's abusive, drunken father, with emphasis on Jericho's protective attitude towards his mother, even when he was a young boy. Themes of friendship, sacrifice, and learning where people come from from and what they've experienced before judging them.
Personal Enjoyment: 5 -- I loved it. It made me feel in all the best ways, and leaves me content and satisfied. One I'll definitely read again.
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.
Auric and Jericho butt heads right from the get-go. Jericho was actually my favorite of the two for most of the story, simply because Auric's general better-than-you attitude makes me want to slap him a few times. Auric did grow on me as the story progressed, though, and I loved watching the boys' rivalry develop into something closer to friendship as the story progresses and they face many challenges together.
My favorite human character, for the record, is Rill, because she's awesome. My favorite character is Jaspyr--wish I had a magical, mechanical fox!
I really loved the magic system, too--I've seen written spells done before but in this case, it's kind of like coding; you have the opening symbol and closing symbol and other symbols in-between that define the spell. Definitely the kind of magic I would want to wield if it were possible.
The ending wraps the story up nicely, but leaves things open for a sequel--which I look forward to reading!
Author H.L. Burke displays J.K Rowling worthy creativity and pairs it with Jane Austen worthy wit and wisdom like that of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, all while maintaining her own wonderfully unique voice.
This is a story like none I have ever read before and is one I will read over and over again.
Women will relate to the lead female.
Powerful, clever, beautiful and virtuous Rill skillfully holds her own amidst two dynamic male heroes.
Men will recognize themselves in male leads, Auric and Jericho, both of whom are their own special brand of brilliant.
These handsome heroes are courageous, industrious, determined, and utterly loveable despite their flaws.
Engaging from the first page all the way through to the end, SPELLSMITH AND CARVER is impossible to put down.
The mystical elements are delightful and the characters' captivating quest is an adventure I will always remember.
The skill with which Burke combines elements of fantasy, mystery, romance and adventure to create a spellbinding tale [the ending of which is pure magic!] has me quite convinced that Burke herself is a wizard!