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Trials of Magic (The Hundred Halls) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 27, 2016
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"A well structured and exciting tale, with a magical system that any fantasy lover would die for." -- Buchelli Reviews
"Two sisters who are completely different but who compliment each other beautifully, are orphaned in tragic circumstances, struggle to survive and compete to get into the Hundred Halls (magical university). After succeeding they both enter their chosen Halls and fight to overcome the many obstacles placed in their way." -- Expat Reader
"A wonderful first book in a brand new series: The Hundred Halls." -- Lorella Reviews
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However, I like books with magic. Our two characters are sisters, both with distinct stories – which is a plus. There are side characters that border between sinister and ‘just doing their jobs’. We have actual demons – which may turn a few readers off – but let’s face it, this is a darker world than Harry Potter. Everything has adapted to magic, demons, spells, schools that teach magic – etc. But we still have cell phones and computers. It’s a fun setting.
Here’s the rub, both characters clearly have reasons for trying so hard to get into school, both due to loss – but it’s hard to anchor until about a fourth of the way in. Once I got through the initial ‘anchoring’ or ‘groking’ for you Heinlein fans – I was hooked.
There are a couple of confusing logic gaps – which threw me off for a moment. In the beginning one man’s charmed creating a trope-ish ‘revenge on the main character’ drama – but in a line full of mage hopefuls no one seems to know how to detect it or run a counter charm. There was a Star Wars reference in a world full of magic – which is weird. There are also a lot of other situations set up where figuring out clever uses for magic is the real key – which the main characters do. I did enjoy the magic systems presented. There was a wide variety that made them feel distinct and interesting.
So, final verdict. If you like two points of view to follow, convoluted and interesting magic, female leads, Machiavellian shadow enemies, and nearly no romantic subplot – this story will be right up your alley. Contrariwise – if you don’t like these things…well, there’s always another book to peruse.
At the time I read there were a few things I had to infer (faez = magic). A phrase repeated throughout is defined at the very end.
There were plot twists I did not see coming (which does not happen often). I loved the characters and felt them believable. No grammatical or spelling issues, no vulgarity.
This book reminded me of Harry Potter in that it's magical schooling and that I REALLY hope this series continues on for many books.
I have rEad other books by Mr. Carpenter before, but this one I blew through. I stayed up til midnight because I did not want to put it down
Finished it in 3 nights. If the synopsis appeals to you at all, get it. You won't be sorry!
The world building is very good, going beyond a simple riff on Harry Potter and dropping clues to a deeper set of mysteries that I think will reveal themselves in later books. Antagonists are interesting and the pacing and sense of peril for the protagonists is handled well.
If you're looking for a good entry point into a series with strong female characters, urban fantasy and plenty of tense action, pick this book up.
With that said I love the main characters and the magic system so far. The only thing that would make this better for me is getting a little bit more in-depth knowledge of how the magic works.
I have been a fan of Thomas K. Carpenter for a while now, but this book is my favorite so far! Keep them coming!
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