My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Actual rating – A grudging 2.5 stars.
Let’s do a fun review today, I thought. So here we go.
Anchor – Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the latest and greatest in magical and assassin-related news, only on Fee Fi Fo FM. Our guests for this evening are Ileni, a bright young lady with no future or magic, Sorin, a dark young man who doesn’t want a future and the mysterious Master, who refuses to comment on anything. Welcome, everyone.
Ileni – Erm, thanks.
Sorin – (Smirks.)
Master – Hmmm.
Anchor – Ileni, tell us, what drove you to go to the assassin’s caves as their teacher when you clearly knew you might get killed? It seems like a suicide mission, though you obviously survived (since this is the first book of the series).
Ileni – I simply gave up hope I guess. My entire life I was trained to use magic and be adept at wielding it, but all of a sudden my power started diminishing so the Elders decided I would be more useful dead if I could solve the mystery of the previous teachers deaths. I won’t pretend I’m not bitter about it, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Sorin – Essentially, she had a death wish. (Smirks.)
Ileni – (Glares.) Like you don’t, you brain-wished killer who lives to die for some godforsaken old man.
Sorin – What do you know, little brat who couldn’t lift a knife to save her non-violent, pointless life?
Master – (Nods.) It rhymes. Somewhat. All according to plan.
Anchor – Now, now. Ileni and Sorin, you love each other, remember? It may or may not be part of the mysterious Master’s master plan, but you developed romantic feelings.
Ileni – Come to think of it, I’m not sure why. Granted, Sorin may be ridiculously good looking and rippling with muscles, but I didn’t have to fall for him. Maybe because I was on the rebound?
Sorin – She was the only girl around. And the first one I knew. Plus, the author told me she would die without my help. (Shrugs.)
Master – The less you realise, the better for me…
Anchor – Well there must be something. Think harder.
Ileni – Well, I do have to credit Sorin for being the first guy to teach me something useful – self-defence. He’s also the only one who can handle my snark.
Sorin – Ileni challenges everything. Kind of like me. Though we rebel in different ways.
Master – Hmph.
Anchor – The both of you went through a great many adventures together, or so I heard.
Ileni – Well, I was basically trying to solve the mystery of Cadrel’s death without CSI, while trying to hide my dwindling magic supply (feebly at that) from a bunch of cold-blooded killers who I am highly suspicious of.
Sorin – (Raises an eyebrow) Cold-blooded? That must be why I spent most of my time trying to save your butt when I knew it could get me in trouble.
Ileni – I refuse to listen to reasonable arguments.
Master – [Insert mysterious comment on war, necessity, life and Pop-tarts.]
Anchor – Speaking of which, the Master is supposed to know all, see all, control all. How did that enormous plot twist at the end happen?
Master – A magician never reveals his secrets.
Ileni – Overconfidence. And old age.
Sorin – Deus ex machina?
Anchor – How do you guys feel about the magic and mythology of the novel?
Ileni – I think it’s pretty cool. Our magic actually has practical applications other than making pretty dresses appear out of nowhere and it’s not easy to use. It requires skill and practice.
Sorin – The mythology is vague though. I know we’re fighting against the Empire. But then, so is everybody else in every other high-fantasy book/RPG/manga. Whatever. They’re oppressive and mean. I might not know why, but I’ll get them anyway.
Master – I know. But I won’t tell you anything. As usual.
Ileni – (Grumbles.) Shady old coot.
Sorin – (Sighs.)
Anchor – One final question. What do you think is the over-arching message of the book?
Ileni – That love doesn’t equate to trust?
Sorin – That I was created solely to be tortured by Ileni?
Master – That the first book in a series is intended not to tell a story, but to create suspense and a setting for the next five.
Anchor – I see. Well, thanks for joining us today. That session was thoroughly informative, I’m sure, for our viewers/listeners.
Ileni – (Dryly.) Just like the book, I suppose?
Sorin – (Smirks.) At least we agree on that.
Master – It’s time for the first FIFA match. All shall go according to plan…hopefully.