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Book Review – Fortress of Gold

Fortress of Gold is the second book in the Magicians Gold series by David Harten Watson. I had read the first book, Magic Teacher’s Son, when it came out, and you can find my review of it here.

The story opens with our protagonist, Pran, leading an expedition from the land of Eldor to the legendary kingdom of Earth. Magicians on Eldor have been fighting a desperate battle against an invading army from Marakna, where death-fueled sorcery is commonplace. When the enemy steals all of the gold that is vital to powering their white magic, the Eldoreans are defenseless.

Pran travels with a group of friends: Jelal, an experienced spy who looks to be 12 years old as a result of a spell accident, Samir, a friend and cousin, and Vitina, an enchantress whom Pran has fallen suddenly in love with. This journey was foretold in a prophecy in Book 1, and I was excited to see how it would unfold.

The plot was interesting enough and there is some definite appeal in watching the characters fumble through the culture shock of earth. It takes a while to get going as the heroes get oriented, but then the action was entertaining and enjoyable.

A few new secondary characters arrive to help Pran’s group, and I liked getting to know them. The main goal of the story turns this book into a heist tale, which was also fun. While magic can often be used to overcome any obstacle, the rules that the author has put in place in his story allows the heist to still be a significant challenge while imbuing creativity into the escapade.

One downside to this book was that the romance aspect between the characters didn’t feel real enough to me. Pran has fallen in love with Vitina, and this sudden infatuation could be blamed on the aftereffects of a healing spell she cast on him in the previous book. However, when a love triangle develops, it doesn’t feel like something that has grown organically from their interactions.

I know there’s supposed to be a third book, but I don’t know when it will be released. I’m curious to see how this wraps up, so I’ll be looking for it in the future.

Find more of my book reviews here.

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Book Review – Magic Teacher’s Son

Magic Teacher’s Son
Book 1 of The Magician’s Gold Series
By David Harten Watson
Pen-L Publishing 2014

In the debut novel by David Harten Watson, we are introduced to the land of Eldor, a place that contains both familiar and fresh elements of the fantastic. The magic worked by the characters is a creative invention, with just enough rules and structure to prevent a free-for-all of spell-slinging. White magic must be powered by either silver or gold, with spells of longer duration or greater power requiring gold. In opposition to this, sorcery uses bones, blood, or the death of a living creature to fuel its effects.

MagicTeachersSonFrontCover-200Pran is the magic teacher’s son of the title, studying in a one-room schoolhouse outside the village of White River Junction. The novel opens as Pran sneaks out of his home to participate in a Circle of Sorcery, at which neighborhood hooligans gather to practice illicit black magic. Accompanied by his friends, Pran watches Sekar, the leader of the circle, as the teen summons a fire nymph for demonstration. Despite the allure, Pran avoids performing any sorcery himself and manages to escape the ridicule of the older boys.

Pran’s home realm of Eldor is at war with Marakna, a place where sorcery is commonplace. While his older brother is a Magician in the Eldorean Army, the conflict itself has little effect on Pran’s day-to-day life. However, after a chance encounter with a traveling Truthseeker, Pran learns that a terrifying prophecy has just come to light. Within a week, all of Eldor’s gold will vanish, leaving the country powerless to defend itself against the Maraknese sorcerers and possible invasion. Pran has been designated to lead a quest to return some amount of gold to Eldor by traveling with three others to the legendary realm of Earth. As with most prophecies, there are hints and riddles, but not enough guidelines to make the quest a comfortable process.

The first volume of this series follows Pran’s quest to discover his companions and find his way to Earth. David Harten Watson describes this world with prose that is straight-forward, while capturing a true feel for the interplay between teenage characters. The military structure of the magical army was an outstanding touch that allowed the battle scenes to unfold with clarity. Pran is a likeable hero, and this book was a joy to read. It’s about overcoming challenges, friendship and trust, making choices, and protecting your home. Magic Teachers’ Son is a solid introduction to the world that the author has crafted, and I’ll be looking for the next book in this marvelous series.

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