If you enjoy the High Fantasy genre for its vast array of small details and variety of characters, this book is for you. If you expect serious themes and sweeping action on a continental scale…well, not so much.
This is a light, action-filled fantasy about a 19-year-old who has been thrust into a magical court position that is far beyond her capabilities. But she doesn’t seem to notice, and soldiers blithely on, using the magical abilities that she collects easily to succeed at her duties. The immediate supporting characters are limned out in reasonable depth, but the rest of the myriad of extras that swarm through the story are merely extras.
The greatest draw in this book is the character of Alex, who is engaging and sympathetic and deserves all our support. We feel with her, agonize over her mistakes and hope she will succeed, which is what is expected of all heroes.
But this story can’t seem to decide if it’s lighthearted or serious. In one scene, Alex is incapacitated by a case of the giggles. The next moment, a rebellious lord is committing genocide. I know this is fantasy, but there seems to be a disconnect with reality. Alex survives two attempts on her life in one evening, “but she enjoyed the party anyway.” This helter-skelter writing is not helped by random POV switches, some of which are rather confusing.
“Noble Magic” is the fourth book in the series, and I do not suggest you start with it. The author does a good job of putting the reader in the picture, but the scene is so complicated by this stage of the series that it is difficult to keep everything and everyone straight. If you like it, you might want to read the whole series.
A novel that skims the surface of High Fantasy, but doesn’t dive very deeply into the power and gravity of the genre. Recommended for YA readers who want a lighter storyline.
(4 / 5)