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Wizard Dawning: Book One in the Battle Wizard Saga Paperback – September 13, 2013
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Sig has always been interested in the magic that has grown in prominence since the climate changes in the late 21st century, but he never thought he had magic of his own. Then one day his great-grandfather Thorval comes to visit with some surprising news: Sig is actually the last in a long line of battle wizards with the power to increase in size at will. But the news is not all good, for it seems that Sig and Grampa Thor have an enemy who will stop at nothing to rid the world of battle wizards. And when an attack from such an enemy leaves Grampa Thor in a coma, Sig must go to Northwestern university to learn as much as he can as fast as he can, if he wants to stand any chance of saving Grampa Thor or himself.
I really liked the mythology concept behind Wizard Dawning. Sure, it's pretty unlikely that global warming will cause an increase in magic, but if it did, I have no doubt there would be a slew of academics who became super-excited about the whole new world of physics they could now explore. And those few scientists out there who believe in the paranormal now would so be saying, "I told you so!" There was some very interesting world-building surrounding Sig and his fellow supernatural beings, who included werewolves, trolls, and witches.
Also, I have to give points to any book that features attacking zombie farmhands.
There wasn't so much anything wrong with Wizard Dawning so much as it was kind of boring. Sig was a little bit too perfect - talented and also hard-working, intelligent and willing to learn, basically a hero on all domains. Instead of making him appealing, it made him seem kind of wooden. His quest was very straightforward, and he seemed to have no problem taking time off from it to engage in side tasks that only served to add some rather obvious world-building opportunities.
I think part of the other reason I was somewhat uninterested in the book was that... well, I'm a girl. To some extent there exists a divide between the genders in terms of fantasy. Boys like to see an unlikely hero triumph over a villain in a painstakingly envisioned world, while the girls want to read about flawed characters overcoming internal and external obstacles and finding the right person to spend the rest of their lives with. Yes, this is an extreme over-simplification, and lots of fantasy novels appeal to people of both genders. I'm just not sure that this is one of them.
Alternately, it might just be a boring book. It's kind of hard to tell. I was going to have one of my friends try it out, but he the book is sadly not yet available on Nook. Boys, if any of you decide to read it, feel free to let me know.
For such a simple, straightforward boy, Sig's lack of a love life can get very complicated. Most of the women he encounters are Amazons, members of an all-female warrior race who focus on becoming the best fighters that they can be. Sig is eager to train with them, and though he is slightly better than their best fighter in his age group, they are close enough in skill that they can all learn much from each other, which is all Sig is really interested in. (Feel free to insert an eye roll.)
Unfortunately, Sig is unlikely to have a successful relationship with an Amazon, because the entire culture sees men as a means to having more (female) offspring. Since Sig does seem to have the kinds of genes one would want to pass onto a fighter, he does have many Amazons throwing themselves at him, but the mild-mannered farm boy is far too honorable to take advantage of this.
He does begin to have a closer relationship with one of the girls, Giselle, but her mother quickly steps in and forbids any continuance of the relationship. At this point, I am not sure how to feel. I mean, I find it hard to cheer for a woman breaking away from her female-empowering culture so that she can find a man to settle down with. But I also don't want to be pro-oppressive society that disallows love and choices. But I don't really see a happy ending where Giselle defies her entire culture. I have to wonder whether Sig should maybe find another girl altogether.
Will I read more?
I'm not really interested in reading more of the series. It's a fairly straightforward scenario in which a hero confronts a not-particularly-complicated-and-pure-evil enemy, and I have no doubt that he will triumph in the end. As for what happens in between... I guess I just don't expect it to be that interesting. But if you like classic good vs. evil fantasy, and would like to see magic in a world much like our own, then you could do worse than to pick up Wizard Dawning.
Wizard's Dawning combines everything we love about wild magical fantasy with modern characters and problems. A high school fling, fencing practice, and mom's home cooking combine with basilisks, witches, and near death experiences.
Sig is a great character. He's strong, responsible, and a leader. Yet he's still a high school boy distracted by a pretty girl and annoyed with his own shortcomings. He has a great relationship with his mother and a lifelong dream of practicing magic. He's scared of the new things happening to him, but steps up when he needs to. Sig is the next Battle Wizard, and that's a huge responsibility.
I felt like the author did a great job in bringing life to these characters and making me, the reader, fall in love with them. The writing style is very modern and practical, which brings the magic into the twenty first century.
This is the first book in the series. I haven't read the rest yet, but I intend to!
The story is futuristic - but not extreme future - maybe 20 years - and perhaps an alternate earth. Magic has been intensified by a climate and gravitational change, and those who had magic found themselves stronger, wild magic was manifesting, and many were beginning to show magic.
Sid was a not so average kid, living out on a farm, with his mom. His dad and grandfather were both dead - but his great Grandfather was still alive and just as chipper as an average 50 year old man. Grandpa Thor paid for Sid to have a horse (Bjorn was 6 feet at the withers) and a variety of gymnastics, martial arts, and riding lessons. Grandpa had magic ... unlike his son, or his grand daughter. Sid wasn't showing any signs of magic either, although he was quite enthralled with it.
But things didn't seem right anymore - something was watching him ... but he could never quite get his eye on who it was, the figure or figures would just melt away whenever he looked at them.
Grandpa arrived, but instead of the young and active appearance that he normally had, Grandpa was old ... his age seemed to finally be catching up to him. Suddenly, zombies attack ... and the three of them manage to defend themselves and drive off or destroy them all. Then Grandpa lets Sid in on his HUGE SECRET. Grandpa is dying, and Sid has to take over his duties - and maybe there is more to magic than the aptitude tests can detect. Grandpa is a Battle Wizard, and with the help of his magic token, Sid discovers that he can also do magic. Powerful magic - except it doesn't work much, and not at all what he needs to be a proper battle wizard.
Usually, a battle wizard will take years to train his replacement, but Grandpa doesn't have years. He might not even have months. Training must start immediately ... and everything goes well, until one day they are attacked again, and Grandpa ends up in a coma, the house across the street is become even more mysterious and dangerous.
A friend of Grandpa's arrived soon after, he was to take over Grandpa's medical needs, and Sid's training. At the school, Sid meets Ogre's, Amazon Women, Werewolves, and many other mythical beings, yet to most people, they appear quite human.
Sid and his new friends are in a race for time, first they must find out who is killing Grandpa, release the power the demon has over him, and the Dark Wizard's power. Will Sid be up to the task?
This is a fairly long book, but the rapid fire action will keep most readers well enthralled. There is enough foreshadowing that you will not be completely surprised when the ending comes, but yet, there are also enough twists and turns to keep most young teens quite happy.
While boys will probably enjoy this more than girls, I found the action and plot engaging enough to read through to the end just to find out whether or not Grandpa lives, and whether Sid learns to use his magic. It is a clever mix of old mythology with the modern world, sometimes scary, and sometimes funny. Actually, there were many funny parts mixed in with the serious and often grim or gross stuff.
I doubt I would ever read more of this series, now that I know that it is mostly zombies and martial arts. Still, the story was fairly well written, a few minor areas that were confusing or awkward, but for the most part - it made for an entertaining story.
This book wasn't my cup of tea, but I have to give it credit for being an entertaining storyline, interesting characters, and a fun twist of mythology and magic in our modern world.