I was cleaning out my Kindle this past week and I ran across this amazing gem of a book. I am going to have to buy a physical copy. It is that good.
I do not remember why I picked this book from the Kindle library. All I remember is that I was looking for fantasy, fun and good (always.) I downloaded a lot of new, cheap books that day. I did not even read this one first. I read some pretty bad stuff before I chose to read this one. I did not have high hopes that evening.
The story is about two wizards/ mages/ sorcerers (whatever you choose to call them. I am going to call them sorcerers; it has a slightly dark connotation to me.) They have been at odds for eons. Yes, their battle has been going on for a very long time, and the author does a great job at hinting at how long. They are fighting over who’s magic methods are the best.
I never really thought that the archaic “stand and fight” method was very magic user like. Magic duals should be sneaky, thought provoking affairs. I like when Merlin gave Mad Madame Mim a flu, instead of changing into larger and larger animals. These are the tactics our sorcerers use, sneaky and thoughtful, not stand and shoot, reload, repeat.
Our story involves two young people, one male and one female. A sorcerer adopts one each and trains them in their particular flavor of magic. One uses something similar to incantations and the other uses mental visualization and will power. The kids are trained apart and when they reach the right age the venue for the battle is set.
A traveling circus that is only open at night.
Once the main characters find out what is going on, they believe the battle is to see who can have the most spectators in their attractions. They put all their efforts into out doing each other’s shows, while trying to start a personal relationship (they are not supposed to, but are drawn together.) Too late they discover that they real victor will be the last one living. Survival of the fittest is the sorcerer’s idea of proving which type of magic is strongest.
The cast of supporting characters is great. Each is well rounded with strengths and weaknesses that drive the story and cause unexpected changes. In the end these characters are able to help the main characters “cheat” the sorcerers out of their expected outcome. It is done in a fantastic manner, all sneaky and thoughtful like.
This book is truly a work of art. The characters are well developed. Ms. Morgenstern uses her words to create vivid scenes. I swear I was watching a movie as I was reading this. Something that is not usual for me.
This is totally worth reading, several times. I think I will start tonight.
Side note: I do not know is she is related to S. Morgenstern (Princess Bride author) but they have the same last name and I thought it was kind of neat. Princess Bride is also an awesome book.