Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Fantasy/ YA/ Adventure/ Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words
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“Melinda Brasher spends her time writing fiction, traveling, and teaching English as a second language in places like Poland, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Arizona. Her talents include navigating by old-fashioned map, combining up to three languages in a single incomprehensible sentence, and dealing cards really, really fast. Her short fiction and travel writing appear in Intergalactic Medicine Show, Ellipsis Literature and Art, Enchanted Conversation, Go Nomad, International Living, and others.”
Learn more about Ms. Brasher at her website or check out her blog; Have Book, Will Travel.
Website: <http://melindabrasher.weebly.com/ >
Blog: <http://www.melindabrasher.com/ >
“After the Chaos Mage traps their mentor within a deadly spell, two apprentice mages set out to find and defeat this menace to the kingdom. But how can they track down a man no one has ever seen face to face? How can they battle a mage so powerful he destroys entire villages with summoned wind or fire? They’ve learned no aggressive magic and never tested themselves against a real enemy.
Kallinesha, still an apprentice after seven years, struggles against her lack of raw magical power, compensating instead with discipline and study. Daughter of the High Commander, driven relentlessly by the duty in her blood, she knows they can defeat the Chaos Mage and safeguard the king and kingdom.
Ista, a commoner and daughter of a city baker, harbors no such delusions. But after only three years of study, her power burns much brighter than Kallinesha’s. The task before them terrifies her, but she loves her mentor too much to let her waste away under the Chaos Mage’s spell. Not if there’s the slimmest chance of saving her.
The two apprentices have never been able to work together--or understand each other--but it just may be their differences that give them the strength to face the kingdom’s greatest enemy.”
Kallinesha is of noble blood and has an elitist attitude, a lot of insecurities, and jealousy is her biggest enemy. Ista is full of natural abilities, easy going, and likeable. This grates at Kalli as she struggles to find her place in the world. Ms. Brasher has done an excellent job developing her fantasy world, her characters, and the way magic works in her stories. Her characters are flawed and up against impossible odds as they pursue their quest to expose the Chaos Mage and destroy him to save their teacher, the king, and the Kingdom of Andalinn.
The plot twists and turns as circumstances change due to their missteps and failed attempts. However, they continue to find a way to work together for their common goal. This is a unique tale with multiple layers that give the plot depth which range from personal development to political manipulations of a society. Truths are revealed that are hard for young idealist minds to accept without shattering what they have always believed or been taught growing up.
At the end of the story I still found Ryveld Daistar, Protectoret of Smotur an enigma. I am having trouble justifying his true role in the story. However, Kalli seems quite smitten. The story was divided up into different points of view so we know he is not as innocent as he professes. It will be interesting to see what other stories may come from this.
No significant issues in editing or formatting.
Rating: **** Four stars