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By: Jeff Somers
Illustrated By: Allen Dingman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 2014
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: January 1, 2015
Lem Vonnegan was not a master of magic, he was a trickster by choice just barely getting by on the spells he could cast using his own blood, for he refused to bleed anyone else to fuel his own magic. Blood was the key to all magical spells and the more blood that was available the more powerful a spell could be cast. Then the next step was to learn the correct words to be said in order to get what you want from a spell. Thankfully Lem was good with the words and knew how to manipulate them into getting exactly what he wanted. However, it was the choice not to bleed anyone else that unfortunately kept Lem and his humble sidekick Mags in a life of poverty for years with no real way to get out of it. The main difference between a trickster and a powerful mage was that mages were willing to bleed as many people as it took to cast their spells without a second thought while tricksters preferred to stick to small insignificant spells that could be cast with the blood they had within themselves.
In an instant both Lem and Mags’ lives are completely turned upside down as they come across a girl named Claire Mannice who for some reason is covered in ancient runes that can only be seen by people who practice magic. The only reason these runes would be put on a person like this is because she is very important in something extremely powerful. The pair of friends comes across Claire at a hotel where it appears she is being kidnapped and without much thought as to why they are doing it, Lem and Mags rescue her. It does not take long for Lem to find out exactly why this certain girl is so important, for she is wanted by the most powerful mage in the world, Mika Rena, who has destructive plans that Claire is the key to. Quickly thrown into a battle for the Earth that no one saw coming, Lem finds himself trying desperately to protect both Claire and Mags from whatever devastating plan Mika Renar has in mind.
Through the years I have read countless novels about magic but this story showed magic in quite a unique way that I had not seen before. It was interesting as the story developed to see how each of the characters viewed the different methods of fueling their spells and why they made the decisions they did. It was also intriguing to think about the possibility that these powerful mages could have been behind some of the biggest disasters in this world that have changed the face of history. That is what I love about writing – that you can bring to life so many new possibilities and create whole new worlds that can give an entirely new perspective. Jeff Somers does that in this novel.
Quill says: This is an intense and intriguing novel that keeps the reader hooked from beginning to end.