Tag Archives: Book 3

The Master Magician

Holmberg, Charlie N. The Master Magician (2015). 47north. 226 Pages. $4.99

The Paper Magician | Book Three

Holmberg-TheMasterMagician-19817-CV-FT-V4This is the third book in a series, and this post may contain spoilers for the first two books: The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician.

From Amazon

Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own—an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.

First Lines

Ceony, wearing her red apprentices’ apron over a ruffled blouse and plain brown skirt, stood on her tiptoes on a three-legged stool and stuck a square of white paper against the east wall of the Holloways’ living room, right where the wall met the ceiling. The family was celebrating Mr. Holloway’s awarding of the Africa General Service Medal, and had submitted a request to hire the local Folder– Magician Emery Thane– to fashion the party decorations.

Of course Emery had passed the “frivolous task” on to his apprentice.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Magicians of Caprona

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Magicians of Caprona (2001 ed.) 273 Pages. Greenwillow Books. $6.99

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci

As I’ve said (repeatedly, I think) I owned quite a few incarnations of the Chrestomanci series. I’ve misplaced them all, and replaced them all at least once. I did, however, get this one from the library, because it is at the “lost, not yet replaced” point in the cycle of Diana Wynne Jones books. So, when Diana Wynne Jones Week rolled around, I grabbed this from the library, hoping I could squeeze it in, but obviously that did not happen. Regardless, I’ve kept going.

War is looming over the Italian city-state of Caprona, and an unknown enchanter threatens everything that Paolo and Tonino Montana have ever known. Casa Montana may be one of the most powerful spell-houses in Caprona*, but without the help of their rivals (the Petrocchis) they may not be able to do a thing.

With invasion imminent, and both spell houses afraid to use magic, it may be up to some of the smallest family members to save the city.

Some books do not stand up to re-reading, because they rely upon the surprise factor, or because the plot holes become more evident with familiarity. This is not one of those books. Despite the fact that I knew the twists, and the surprises, and the villain, I still enjoyed the mystery, and watching the characters discover things I already knew.

In Conclusion:

If you’ve read any Chrestomanci books, you’ll likely at least enjoy this one. There is more of a cameo than a real involvement, as Italy is very far outside of England (and thus Chrestomanci’s official office). It is not crucial to the understanding of the series (though it does relate to a short story in Mixed Magics, where Tonino and Cat bond. Reading the book before the short-story will keep spoilers at bay.) This particular story gets a 5/5, because it was a very, very fun read.

________________________________

* It took serious effort not to type “Verona,” “Montague” and “Capulet.”

________________________________

I got the omnibus edition from the library, because while I own it, I cannot find my copy anywhere. This copy is pretty well “loved,” and since I’m participating in the Dogeared Reading Challenge, I’ll share a few photos of just how well “loved” it is. This one is worth 6 points.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Pierce, Tamora. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (2005 ed.) 304 Pages. Simon Pulse. $6.99

Song of the Lioness: Book Three

Alanna of Trebond may have won her shield, but after everything she went through, she needs to get out of Corus for a while. With the paint on her shield still wet, she sets out for adventure. Having never been one to enjoy the cold, it’s not surprising that Alanna chooses to spend the winter down south in the Bazhir desert where it’s nice and warm. Well, she doesn’t exactly choose winter in the desert; she was aiming for Tyra and got waylaid.

To get to Tyra from Corus, it’s necessary to go through the Bazhir desert. Of course, with only half the Bazhir tribes recognizing the Tortallan king, and many of the desert’s residents being lawless hillmen, it’s a dangrous trip even for seasoned warriors. Unfortunately for Alanna, she and Coram are attacked by a group of hillmen who have a magical sword (which glows orange with the late Duke Roger’s magic) that breaks Lightning, leaving Alanna sad and swordless. The hillmen are attacked in turn by the Bloody Hawk Bazhir tribe, who take Alanna and Coram back to their camp.

At the Bloody Hawk camp, Alanna is recognized as the “Burning Brightly One” who helped defeat the Ysandir– she is now a legend to the Bazhir. However, the shaman is crazed, and claims that she is a liar (along with some other fun names). This culminates in a fight between Alanna and the shaman (Ibn Nazzir) where Alanna kills the man. Because of Bazhir law, the one who kills the shaman must become the shaman (at least until they can train a suitable replacement), so Alanna finds herself tied to a tribe when all she really wants to do is go on an adventure. There are three gifted teens in the camp- Ishtak, Kara, and Kourrem- who have never been trained to control their gift. Recognizing that untrained gifted teens could spell disaster for everyone in the tribe, Alanna declares them her successors and begins their training.

Jonathan and Sir Myles visit Alanna while she’s with the Bloody Hawk, and several things happen. Jonathan and Alanna renew (and end) their relationship. Sir Myles adopts Alanna, and Jon becomes The Voice of the Tribes. As soon as this is completed, Alanna flees the desert, heading to Port Caynn where she spends the summer avoiding Corus and Jonathan, instead focusing on George.

The end of the book sets us up for Lioness Rampant, as Alanna decides to go find the Dominion Jewel to save Tortall.

The Quick Version:

Like so many third-in-a-set-of-four novels, this book feels a bit like a bridge. A lot happens, and Alanna makes huge steps toward becoming the champion she is destined to be. She continues to grow in her sense of self, and her womanhood, and begins to truly embrace herself here. It’s a solid adventure, and it makes you want more. It gets a 4/5.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, High Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Me and My Shadow

MacAlister, Katie. Me and My Shadow (2009). 352 Pages. Signet. $7.99

The Silver Dragons: Book Three || Dragons Universe Book Seven

This is certainly not the last Dragons book– Love in the Time of Dragons is the next book — but it is the last book about Gabriel and May. Much like with Aisling and Drake before, their series might be over, but they are not gone.

Kostya continues to petition the weir for recognition of the Black Dragon sept. Cyrene continues insisting that she is Kostya’s mate. Drake’s mother is an evil, obnoxious woman. Aisling has given “full custody” of Jim to May for the remainder of her pregnancy– which means that Jim will continue being loud and obnoxious and Not. Funny.*Something weird is going on with Sally. Magoth has been unleashed on the mortal realm (and is still obnoxious). And so on and so forth.

The only thing which really concludes in this book is May and Gabriel’s romance; they really and truly are committed to each other, and have found their personal happily-ever-after. Oh, and Aisling has finally given birth.** However, May has finally found herself- in more than one sense- and her relationship with Gabriel has strengthened in such a way that it will last through their immortality.

Things get more and more complicated with Baltic. He’s basically the center of everything, and we know next-to-nothing about him. Hopefully this is not the case in Love in the Time of Dragons, because I believe it is his chest decorating the cover. I should be reviewing that by this time tomorrow, with the way I inhale these.

The Series as a Whole:

May and Gabriel manage to be different from Aisling and Drake while following the same basic plot; Girl has some powers. Boy notices girl, Girl notices boy. Girl gains lots of powers and complicates life. Boy does not run away from incredibly powerful, complicated girl. Boy and Girl overcome obstacles, and live happily ever after. But then, aside from the powers point, that’s really ever romance novel ever, and who really reads them expecting something original? The fact is, seven books in, I still enjoyed the set enough that I want to read the eighth. The series scores a perfect 10 of 10.

The Quick Version:

This book makes a good end to the rest of the Silver Dragons novels, though as stated repeatedly, the overall plot of the Dragons universe is not done. I did enjoy it, and I did actually laugh aloud a couple times. As a whole though, this series is less funny than the Aisling Grey series, which works, because the dramatic and action-oriented plot has become much more significant than the slapstick humor of the first portion. There are still scenes where I laughed– I snorted out loud while I was sneakily trying to read this book at work (and was so busted by a customer).  It gets a 4.5/5, because I really did enjoy it, even if some of it made me cringe.

_____________________________________________________

* I have not thought Jim was funny more than once or twice the entire series. In seven books I have laughed at him maybe twice. He is not a good character. He is annoying, and needs to go away.

** She’s been pregnant through four books now. It’s about damned time.

1 Comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Calling on Dragons

Wrede, Patricia C. Calling on Dragons (1994). 244 Pages. Scholastic. $3.95*

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Three

Because this is the third book in a series, there are very likely to be spoilers for the first two books. Proceed with caution.

It is purely by accident that King Mendanbar discovers that  his sword has been stolen by wizards, allowing them to once again steal the forest’s magic. The bold theft is what will lead our familiar (and not-so-familiar) cast on yet another adventure to save the forest. With the sword out of the Enchanted Forest, however, Mendanbar must remain at home to be the focus of the protection spell. This means that Cimorene must lead the party, and Mendanbar is by no means happy about it.

In Calling on Dragons we see their adventures from Morwen’s point of view, which means that we get to hear what her cats are actually saying for the first time. They lend a comedic edge to the book which it would otherwise have been missing. (And it gives us some insight into cat romance). Killer, the six foot tall talking blue donkey-rabbit who blunders into more and more difficult and stupid situations. He makes things funny, but can at times be very annoying.

We see a lot more of the world outside the Enchanted Forest or Mountains of Morning, mostly due to the adventure.  Telemain speaks in magical technical gibberish, and Kazul stops him. Morwen is practical, Cimorene equally so. Killer is silly, and the cats are funny. There is also a very entertaining scene with a cranky magic mirror. This book, like the others, will have you laughing and enjoying yourself.

The Quick Version:

As I have said on other books which are the third in the series; it’s more of a bridge than a stand-alone book. The story begins, but does not conclude, and has a rather severe cliffhanger at the end. It is still good, is still very entertaining, and in a lot of ways is my favorite book in the series. It gets a 4.5 out of 5 because of the cliffhanger.

If you want to read it, pick it up on Amazon or though Swaptree.

__________________________

* This is the price on the old edition which I received used.

5 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, High Fantasy, Humor, Young Adult Fiction

Light My Fire

MacAlister, Katie. Light My Fire (2006). 329 Pages. Signet. $7.99

Aisling Grey, Guardian: Book Three || Dragons Universe Book Three

Please be aware that there may be spoilers present as this is the third book in a series!

Having seemingly given up on being a courier (perhaps because uncle Damian has come to his senses), Aisling Grey once again stumbles through more danger than she even knows. What this girl needs is a whole series of How-to books; How to be a Demon Lord, How to be a Wyvern’s Mate, How to be a Guardian, and most of all How to Stop People from Trying to Kill You.

Despite having walked out on Drake again, Aisling finds herself face to face with her mate when he informs her that her presence is required at a gathering of the Green Dragons. She obliges, and quickly learns that she cannot keep her hands off him. The feeling is mutual. Once again, there are several steamy scenes that will have you blushing.

Unfortunately for Aisling, being reunited with Drake is perhaps the only good thing that happens. Drake is challenged, the Red Dragons are trying to eliminate Aisling, Fiat is up to something and Gabriel is seemingly complicit, and that’s just the dragons. Jim has eaten an Imp monarch and the Imps want Aisling’s blood, a Demon Prince wants Aisling’s vote, the Otherworld of Paris want Aisling to step up and be Venediger, Drake’s mother is scary, and she may or may not be pregnant.

Certain truths are revealed about characters, truths which explain occurrences from the last few books, and make things fall into place. More is set up for the future, and the fourth book promises to be quite a culmination. Many more laughs are to be had, and as a whole, the book is very enjoyable. The real trouble comes in the way that nothing is truly wrapped-up at the end, and it is very nearly a cliffhanger. It’s a good thing I thought to pick up the 4th book already, or I might be in bad shape.

The Quick Version:

Aside from the storylines which have been left open at the end, this book is as solid and funny as its predecessors. The thing which caused this to score lower is in fact the lack of wrap-up. I believe one storyline is concluded in the entirety of the book, and the rest are left hanging for what I suspect is the grand finale. It is still a good book, as long as you do not expect a standalone. It gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Want to check it out? Get it on Amazon or Swaptree.

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy