Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: _The Magic of Recluce_ by L.E. Modesit, Jr.

Most Epic Fantasies are stories that follow a group of characters through many events that lead to a final battle between good and evil. These books are exciting to read with a lot of action. Some authors create Epic Fantasies that are slower paced and focus on a smaller part of a story. The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is one of these books. Readers will find the book entertaining because of its interesting plot, realistic characters and subtle magic system.

First, this book does not move at a fast pace but has an interesting plot to hook the reader. Readers follow the main character is this coming-of-age story through several fateful events. The story begins with Lerris leaving his island home to wander the continent of Candar under orders of the Brotherhood. He becomes involved in various adventures that eventually lead him to a final encounter with a a dangerous mage. A slow pace gives the book more depth as the reader gets to know the fantasy world and the character. Mr. Modesitt brings this plot to life with detailed, lively descriptions of an interesting conflict.

Next, the book is entertaining due to its realistic characters. Lerris is a young man from Recluce where order rules. He is bored and always wants answers to his questions. Trying his hand at wood working as his uncle’s apprentice, Lerris discovers he is bored with that too. Recluce requires its people to have a purpose to spread order or they must leave the island. After undergoing some training as a dangergelder, Lerris is sent to the land of Candar with a group of his fellow young people. There he begins his growth in maturity and magic. He meets other people like Justen, a gray wizard, and a wood worker that helps him grow. The author’s characters are realistic, since many have traits and problems like people such as providing for family and protecting others.

Finally, the subtle magical system keeps the story entertaining for readers. The magic is not of a flashy type like some novels. In this world, there is order and chaos magic. Order magic must be used carefully to strengthen and further order in the world. Chaos magic is of destruction. This magic comes with a price for its users, making them die young. Lerris has a talent for order magic, but gets frustrated at learning about it. He travels through Candar slowly learning the magic as he helps people. Mr. Modesitt weaves the magic system into the book seamlessly, which adds suspense to the book that makes it more entertaining.

The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is an entertaining book for readers. An interesting plot, realistic characters and subtle magic system provides several elements that keeps a reader hooked on the book. This is the first book in a long series of loosely connected books exploring the history of Recluce and other nations of this world in their struggles with magic.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Review: _Gods Old and Dark_ by Holly Lisle

The last human world is on the brink of destruction, brought there by dark gods that feed on the deaths of worlds. Two young women fight to prevent it. Love. Sacrifice. Redemption. These are the themes of Gods Old and Dark by Holly Lisle. It is the exciting conclusion of her “World Gates” trilogy. The book and trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion because of its main characters, action plot and sympathetic themes.

After a brief respite from danger, the main characters are in danger again, which hooks readers into the story rapidly. Lauren is a Gateweaver. She is a widow with a young boy, torn by love for her dead husband and Pete. The dark gods threaten her life, making her become a stronger warrior with determination. Molly is Lauren’s sister who suffers from a serious problem of her own. She loses a part of herself each time she dies and comes back to life. Fearing to become a Dark God, she faces some difficult choices. Other characters help these two main characters and rounds out a strong cast for the story. Ms. Lisle creates lively characters to go along with her plot.

The book starts with a lot of action very quickly. It moves at a fast pace with few slow areas. Lauren sets a new magic siphon to help restore magic to the world, which draws the attention of Thor to Cat Creek. An attempt is made on Lauren’s life, but she kills the assassin sent by the Dark Gods to protect her little son. Meanwhile, Molly hunts various members of the Night Watch (Dark Gods), killing them, but dies again, losing more of herself in the process. This is how the story begins and keeps moving at a brisk pace until the end. Ms. Lisle keeps the action going with vivid descriptions of the events.

Finally, the author uses familiar sympathetic themes that keeps a reader interested in the conclusion. Love, sacrifice and redemption are the core themes of the book. Many aspects of love play a strong role in the book. There is romantic love and the love for a person’s world. Sacrifice is exemplified by characters willing to die to saved loved ones or the world. Redemption is demonstrated by Molly as she strives to regain a soul. Ms. Lisle incorporates the themes seamlessly, creating a vibrant story that keeps a reader focused.

Gods Old and Dark by Holly Lisle is the final volume of the World Gates Fantasy trilogy. The book brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion through its main characters, action plot and sympathetic themes. Ms. Lisle is a talented author of entertaining books with action. The climax of the book seemed a little rushed, leaving the minor perception of missing parts. Still, it is an entertaining book that is hard to put down. Readers should enjoy it.