I bought this book because I saw its amazing cover while trolling on Twitter. I’m very glad I purchased it. What makes this book stand out is its blending of original ideas. I’ve read books where magic is addictive. I’ve read books where magic has a price. Here, C.L. Schneider blends the two to create an interesting source of conflict that also helps make her main character more compelling. There are other forms of blending that I like in this. The originality of this book is in the juxtaposition of ideas to create something new. As an author, that in itself was impressive. The fact that some of these themes I recognize (whether by intent of happenstance I do not know) are from other stories that I love only amplify my appreciation for this book.
Most books that get four-star reviews from me (on Goodreads or Amazon) tend to have compelling, proactive characters, Troy has both. His supporting cast is equally compelling. It’s not common for me to like books with a scope like this told from the first-person narrative. This is because I tend to want to get in the head of multiple characters when they interest me. Even the antagonist has a point of view I would like to investigate in the future. Still, the use of first-person narrative was skillful enough that I could look past my desire to know what other characters were thinking.
I’ve mentioned a few times how I have what I call “drop what you’re reading” authors. Honestly, Sanderson and Wells top the list in print form. Butcher and Brett top that list in audio form. I mention this because I also have authors who I love being able to go back to. Let’s call them “What can I count on if I want a good book” authors. Schneider has placed herself in this category for me. It’s important to have a solid stable of writers to turn to, writers that you know will provide books with solid, interesting plots; compelling characters; and just solid writing. I’ll probably wait for a few books in the series to come out (or for it to finish). This isn’t because the books aren’t good. It’s actually the opposite. One of the best things that happened to me as a reader was getting handed Book One of the Wheel of Time. One of the worst things to happen was receiving Book One before Book 12 was finished (much less 13 and 14). As a result, I tend to be very picky about what series I start and when. So don’t take my waiting as an indication of quality. Instead, see it as the truth that I can only handle anxiously waiting for so many different books at a time.
Anyone looking for an original magic system, intelligent blending of ideas into something original, compelling characters and seat-of-your pants action should give this book a chance. I don’t think you’ll regret it.