Friday, February 22, 2008
A Magic of Twilight
Nessantico is the greatest city in the world, capital of an empire and seat of the dominant religion. The sitting matriarch is nearing the fiftieth anniversary of her rule, however, not everyone is joyful of the approaching celebration. Factions are chaffing at the enforced peace of her long rule as well as the city’s dominance of political power. At the same time the head of the faith faces religious extremists bent on seizing control and the possibility of conflicts with magic-using “unbelievers”. The games of power being played in Nessantico will have repercussions throughout the world.
Like Martin’s ASOIAF series, the book is written in third person limited where each character gets his or her own chapter. The book is also divided into several sections much like a play. While not every character appears in each part, the character chapters stay the same so the focus stays tight on a revolving set of characters.
The characters are fairly well drawn. Most have their own motivations and agendas as befitting a story of political intrigue. Some characters are naive while others wiser to the ways of the world and often play things to their own advantage. Many of the supporting cast are one-dimensional though thankfully most of the main characters learn and evolve over the course of the story. The world building and magic system are also quite decent with differences in magical abilities keeping the book interesting.
The book starts a little slow, which is understandable given that the book is setting up the background and plot. Dividing up the book into "scenes" also serves to artifically slow it down. The action and battle scenes were also well done though I felt a little cheated by the climax.
The main weakness with A Magic of Twilight is that the book is basically fantasy lite. Everything is fairly light from the characters to the magic system to the world building. Compared with the possible scope, the book is just a little underwhelming.
A Magic of Twilight is a solid fantasy effort and will appeal to most fans of the genre. Lightly recommended.