Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.
Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.
Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.
Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.
As with most books, what pulls me are three things. Character interaction, fantasy elements, and readability. This book manages to get my interest on all three fronts. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly interesting.
The magic system is based around illusions made real, or projections – as they call them. Projections can be anything imaged with a few different elements depending on the caster’s strength. They can even project a taste into certain types of foods; I found this super neat. Imagine eating healthy food that tastes like a fresh off the grill cheeseburger.
The characters can get a little overwhelming, but the few who linger through the narrative were fun to read. Sometimes they were playing pranks, other times arguing, but at least were distinct enough to tell the difference. There is – a lot – of talking in this novel. Some of the world details are shoved in nicely at the start of chapters. I liked the simple inserts making some of the rules / references easier in a quick format.
It’s pretty clear that this book is intended to be part of a longer epic. There’s a handy pronunciation guide in the back for anyone who gets lost. A huge swath of characters provided pretty much any reader someone to identify with. Not all are engaging and some are walk on parts with little depth. The people at the start aren’t who the story ends with – and in a lot of ways this was the most confusing part. It could be the sheer amount of action / events that happened between the start and finish that made me lose track.
Either way, for the magic system alone I enjoyed the read.
I was given a free copy of the book by the publisher, Wondertale Press, in exchange for an honest review.