Review: The Other Magic by Derrick Smythe
The Other Magic by Derrick Smythe
5 of 5 stars
Darkness stirs in a world that is ill-equipped to confront it. A prophesied king is born, but not all will benefit from his foretold conquests.
In a realm where only clerics are permitted to practice magic, Kibure, a mere slave, draws the attention of much more than just his master after wielding an unknown force in a moment of desperation. In a twist of fate, Sindri, the priestess hired to strip Kibure of his power, defies the law, revealing designs of her own. But trust is in short supply in a land ripe with deceit. This wayward pair will have to work together if they hope to evade capture at the hands of the Empire’s most potent wielders.
Halfway around the known world, Prince Aynward’s knack for discovering trouble drives him deep into conspiracies within which he does not belong. Too arrogant to accept counsel, he will have to learn the hard way that some actions have consequences that cannot be undone…
The Other Magic is book one of the epic fantasy series Passage to Dawn. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read any epic fantasy books in the longest time, and this book was such a welcome surprise. At 600+ pages, it isn’t a small book by any means, but it’s just what I needed. The feeling of being able to immerse yourself in a book universe for days on end (and often late into the night) is a feeling I haven’t experienced in a while.
The challenge with epic fantasy is being able to do justice to the detailed world building without needless exposition. Capturing the details and settings while not going overboard in a particular aspect is not an easy thing to do. Symthe does it in a way that seems effortless and keeps drawing you into the story. While it seems effortless, I know, as an aspiring author, that this is an immensely difficult thing to pull off. So I absolutely admire it both as a reader and a writer. At no point did the descriptions, scenes, or stories become boring or overbearing. It was neatly and beautifully woven into the plot as a whole. If more epic fantasy books were like this, I would probably read more epic fantasy.
The main players of this book are Kibure, a slave boy who doesn’t know how to handle his newly discovered magic talent; Sindri, an outcast Klerol priestess who wants to harness Kibure’s power for her own agenda; Aynward, a well-meaning prince who hasn’t quite yet learnt the ways of the world and gets involved in things he couldn’t anticipate; and Grobennar, a high priest who is starting to lose his position of power as trusted advisor to an egomaniacal God-king. The plot weaves together their stories and lives, and how things turn out in ways they couldn’t have anticipated or imagined.
I don’t really want to go into an explanation of the plot or even the world, because this book is something you should experience for yourself. An inadvertent spoiler would pain me, because this book is absolutely fantastic. I look forward to reading and reviewing the rest of the series, and indeed, anything else that Derrick Smythe chooses to write.