In a powerful literary condensed style, the story throws at you words on a page. A mere page, of a lifetime.
Grab a beer, as Warwick recommended, or don't grab it, unless you already have, and enjoy it.
Science fiction, fantasy, indie and new publishing models
Everyone wishes the ancient prophecy would go away. Pixies commute to work and sirens make mp3s of their songs, yet antique forces stubbornly persist. They want to bring about a war between Light and Darkness in an era when most people just want to cash in on the merchandising.
Aki is struggling to make ends meet and hopes her scholarship can at least earn her a better apartment. Blake refuses to believe he could be something so cliché as a Knight of Darkness. Keisha is pursuing a career in law when she's told she has no choice but to serve the forces of Light. All of them will be attending the same university, whether they like it or not.
It's hard to think about dark omens when there's a term paper due, much less a party that night. But they'd better relax while they can, because after college is only the real world, which is stranger and more dangerous than they could possibly imagine.
An uncommon book in the fantasy landscape, Sorcery and Scholarships is an on-going trip in a rich fantasy world. Dynamic and complex, the world is too rich to catch in a few words, and it is a setting hosting a saga of magic, youth struggles, destiny and war.
The new students to Axis University are distinct, well sketched characters. We meet Aki, a girl trying to live on her own and struggling with basic spells to prove herself. Blake, a powerfully distinct character from the start, presented to us as a bearer of Darkness and from his very introductory scene the author shocks us with his behavior. I would rather not give spoilers, so I'll pass over the details, I'll just say that not everything is rosy, and that has caught my interest from the start. Then we have Keisha, the smart girl aiming for law school, an overachiever in anything she puts her mind to.
The book is well written on characterization and point of view, though not easy: it switches often the points of view, following the experiences of every of our students. However, thanks to the skillful depiction of the biases of each and the clear distinction between their take on Axis, on their entourage, on the war going on, we have no trouble following them and enriching our experience of the world of Sorcery and Scholarship through the superposition of their perspectives.
The world is complex, and more than once, at the beginning of the book, I've felt it rushing to the reader with many assumptions on history or events we don't know yet. We have to figure out as we go, the fey, the spites, races we're dealing with in this world, the magic system, or rather systems, since there are more areas of magic, the prophecy that lies above the events and puts things into motion at the time we enter the world.
The book doesn't have too long infodumps on magic, still it transmits a lot of information, through part-infodumps. That's somehow more confusing, because they're clearly only hanging parts, that we have to figure out how they relate in the bigger picture. The magic system is complex, with many areas and specific characteristics, partially dependent on the native abilities of the student as well as the willingness of their professors to train them. Weird things are happening, and in the course of the story we don't know much of what or why. Only that it's a war, a war between Light and Darkness, with many aspects we discover along the way.
Thankfully, the plot is character-driven, and very well done at that. We can easily sympathize and connect with Aki, and likely Keisha, from the start. Twists and surprises keep our interest alive as they move along, we can learn with them as they try to uncover the deeper meaning of what is happening in the university and in the world.
A complex fantasy with a complex magic world, Sorcery and Scholarship is an interesting read. Light, though snappy, switching fast through events, the writing style makes this book a pleasure to read, for the fantasy fans.
Note: I have received a copy for free from the author, for an honest review.
This review is part of Making Connections blog tour.
This post was reblogged (see ending).
Just when you thought it couldn't get any sillier.
Someone (*cough*Moira*cough*) built an author page for Goodreads' own Otis Chandler, to feature some pertinent quotes:
“We love having authors on Goodreads. But, we are a site that's focused on readers first. If there is a choice between what is best for readers and what is best for authors, we will always err on the side of readers.”
Sadly, I didn't screencap it, and so I can't quote the other two exactly - because within about half an hour the author page was deleted, and the quotes with it. Now, it was about 11:30 PM that it disappeared here, on the East Coast, so it was about 8:30 PM at Goodreads Central. I don't believe I've ever seen any glitch or problem attended to at that hour; they seem to be pretty solidly 9-5. When it's not something guaranteed to cause further disgust amongst us rabble.
Was this one of the quotes? Either way, it's funny.
"I agree that it’s a shame some books have to suffer ratings that clearly are invalid. However I can’t think of a way to prevent it, and I didn’t see any ideas in the thread either (I did skim though). I hope you’ll appreciate that if we just start deleting ratings whenever we feel like it, that we’ve gone down a censorship road that doesn’t take us to a good place."
Not ha-ha funny, you see, but O-Lord-the-irony funny.
"We’re in the media business today. We’re in the business of helping authors and publishers market their books to readers. And that’s where we make our money. We sell book launch packages to authors and publishers and really help accelerate, build that early buzz that a book needs to succeed when it launches and accelerate that growth through ads on the site."
That would be AmazOtis talking, that.
There's also this, posted by Jennifer on the Big Giant Thread of Fail:
I've watched us deal with many author flame wars over the years, and they all started with an author commenting on a negative review of their own book.
Author Participation Thread, March 2, 2011