Legacy Of Kings (Magister 3) by Celia Friedman
|Legacy Of Kings (Magister 3) by Celia Friedman|
|Reviewer: Iain Wear|
|Summary: Friedman's Magister trilogy comes to an end with a book that you feel as much as read. It's wonderfully dark fantasy, very emotionally vivid and a fine conclusion to a trilogy which has been improving with every book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 624||Date: October 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Three years is a long time to wait between parts of a trilogy, especially one as good as Celia Friedman's Magister Trilogy. I'm not someone blessed with great patience, which has made the wait interminable, but finally I get to find out what happened to Kamala and the other Magisters and to see how Salvator Aurelius is coping with being the first Penitent King.
After the battle against the ikati, the Witch Queen Sideria Amniesta has vanished and none of the Magisters know where she has gone, with even attempts to find her using sorcery ineffective. Salvator Aurelius, a former penitent monk, is on the throne after the death of his brother, but this monk turned king is being tested as many are unsure of his fitness for the job. Magister Colivar is battling the beast inside him which seems to be growing stronger and both Kamala and Gwynofar are dealing with the grief that war often brings.
Despite their victory, it appears there may be more ikati in the South, well away from where they were supposedly trapped behind the Wrath of the Gods in the North. There is also a strange figure who has appeared in Jezalya to assist the invading forces there. The Magisters come to believe these two events may be related, but no Magister alone can find the answers and co-operation between them is very rare. Indeed, the best chance is thought to be had by Kamala, who has broken the laws of the Magisters twice over and is forced to hide her talents for fear of being sentenced to death.
From the beginning of the trilogy, I've loved the dark ideas behind the story and the way Magisters use sorcery. Here, however, Friedman reveals the secret behind their skills and it's deliciously dark. Add to this some despicable traps and acts of war and whilst the book doesn't quite cross the line into horror, it's about as dark as fantasy writing gets, in my experience. As a fan of horror novels, I love fantasy with this dark edge and Friedman does it better than most.
The darkness in the story centres around the characters emotions and in the hands of a lesser writer, the whole idea could have been rendered ineffective. However, Friedman is able to plumb the depths of the soul in such a way that you can feel the anguish. One scene in particular between Kamala and Lazaroth was brutal in both content and execution and left me feeling rather shaken. By contrast, another moment involving Kamala when she is able to let herself go completely and enjoy the freedom of releasing her inner self left me breathless with the exhilaration that poured from the pages.
There is still a slight weakness in the descriptions of some of the characters and it's not nearly as easy to picture their physical forms as it is to picture their emotional cores. This has improved from the previous books and I feel that my physical picture of the ikati in particular is closer to completion than after Wings of Wrath. That said, the emotional descriptions are frequently sufficient to guide the story and ensure that the absence of more detailed physical descriptions is a minor issue, not a severe handicap.
The lack of a map of the world, common in fantasy novels and present in only the second book of the trilogy is also a minor issue, leading to a lack of scale that had a little more impact on the story, especially when Kamala was using her map in a search I didn't feel I was involved in. There were also a couple of issues caused by the delay between books where I had forgotten who minor characters were and their appearance seemed to come from nowhere.
These concerns were ultimately minor and whilst they did interrupt the flow of the story by distracting me for a little while, they had little long term impact. The entire trilogy has been improving as it goes, but this final book finishes it off wonderfully. My ultimate experience was to enjoy it, but to feel a little guilty for enjoying certain parts where characters were badly treated. However, for anyone who enjoys their fantasy with a dark twist and can handle a little bit of guilt, this is a must read.
If you like your fantasy with a dark twist, check out Path of Revenge (Broken Man) by Russell Kirkpatrick. Or, for those new to Friedman, go back to the start at Feast of Souls
You can read more book reviews or buy Legacy Of Kings (Magister 3) by Celia Friedman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Legacy Of Kings (Magister 3) by Celia Friedman at Amazon.com.
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