Tuesday 23 October 2018

Book Review: In the Name of Magic by Chris Bedell (MM/Fantasy)

Title: In the Name of Magic
Author: Chris Bedell
NineStar Press

Publication Date: 22 October 2018
eBook - EPUB
ARC via NetGalley

Nonmagical people are being demonized and falsely blamed for Magnifico’s economic problems after Queen Vivian’s bloody rise to power. But politics very quickly becomes more than abstract views to argue when secret police wolves are deployed throughout the country to kill those born without magical abilities.

Seventeen-year-old Maximillian’s best friend Katherine is one such nonmagical person. In a bid to keep her safe, Maximillian turns to the queen’s estranged younger brother, a man thought to be dead until recently.

Prince Stefan is nineteen years old and has been in hiding from his family for years. He has no desire to resurface in the political world, but Maximillian must convince him that the country needs him before it is too late.

I really wish I could have liked In the Name of Magic more than I did. The premise sounded great, and I opened the book expecting a ripping good read. Sadly, I didn't get it. I wanted to give the book a fair chance, so I pushed through to the end, but it was a struggle to make myself finish. The problem was not the idea, which could have worked brilliantly, but the writing, especially as relates to character development. There was no chemistry in any of the relationships, all of which felt forced, unrealistic and which sprang up out of nowhere. The dialogue was often stilted and unnatural, and the way characters reacted in certain situations was nothing short of bizarre. [SPOILER ALERT] If you'd found of the mangled bodies of your parents, who'd been brutally murdered, would your reaction be to say nothing but 'Oh dear' and then to be concerned about whether you should dump your boyfriend only a few pages later? [END SPOILER ALERT] There was no real tension or emotion. So many terrible events took places, but they just seemed to wash over the characters as if nothing had happened. I had other gripes about plotting and pacing, too; however, I don't want this review to feel too much like an onslaught of complaints. To end on something positive, I would say that the story's premise is good. I liked the idea of the magical vs. non-magical debate as a metaphor reflecting current issues in society, and I enjoyed the concept of the police wolves and detention centres, and their resonance with WWII concentration camps. Unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the book overall, and therefore I can only give it two stars.

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