{ARC} Book Review: Lives Of Magic by Lucy Leiderman

November 28, 2013 Review 0 ½

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Lives Of Magic by Lucy LeidermanLives of Magic by Lucy Leiderman
Series: Seven Wanderers #1
Published by Dundurn on 2014 January 28
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Netgalley
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half-star

Seventeen-year-old Gwen is settling into her new home in Oregon and looking forward to senior year when she is kidnapped by Kian, who warns her that she is in terrible danger. An ancient war was fought between magical Celtic warriors and three evil magicians. Those magicians are alive and well and need Gwen's magic to regain their power. If they succeed, they'll be unstoppable. To save the world, Gwen must unlock the magic trapped in her memories of a past life in Britannia.

As Gwen starts to recover her lost memories and awakens to her power, she suffers the consequences of a divided soul. Gwen and Kian travel to New York and then to England to find others of her kind. Gwen, Garrison, Seth, and Moira need each other to solve the puzzle of their last days in ancient Britannia. They are only as strong as what they remember, but a troublesome history threatens to doom the world. One way or another, a deadly showdown is inevitable, ready or not ...

Book gods, did I do something to displease you? Why can’t you just work your magic around me and put me under a spell that would make me love this book? Why can’t you just brew a love potion and spike my drink with it? Why can’t you just give me a good story to read? Is this part of life’s lessons? Because if you’re intending to do that then I should have graduated months ago considering the torture you’ve me through over the past months

Right.  I went into Lives Of Magic with a lot of expectations considering its stellar rating on GR and the fact that it’s about magic. My favourite kind of story. Factor in the enchanting summary, who am I to resist?  But for the love of anything holy, Lives of Magic was hellbent in drawing out the beast in me.  The book immediately irritated me during the early chapters with the abrupt introduction of info overload about Gwen’s life.  I don’t know how to describe it properly but the timing seemed a bit off granting that Kian and Gwen just knew each other. And after Kian’s very unconvincing tale of destruction and wicked magicians, Gwen immediately went with him without a lot of thinking.  For someone like Gwen, I assumed that she will have more sense than trusting her life to a complete stranger.  You could say that this book and I really started on a wrong footing which proved to be irreparable until the end.

Lives of Magic is a story of five teenagers who were thrown to each other by fate due to an ancient magical event.  While still trying to fit in in a new town, Gwen—through Kian—discovered that she’s a reincarnated magician from thousands of years ago.  And a long forgotten war has caught up with the new millennia and Gwen must take up the mantle of leadership to stop it from destroying the world for good.

Lives of Magic has a lot of awesome things to offer but sadly, it didn’t deliver.  It could’ve been the next bestseller in the market with its premise being a cross between “I Am Number Four” and “X-Men.”  But what a waste. Lives of Magic’s magic isn’t strong enough to haul itself from the depths of haphazardly written urban fantasy books. Except for a few laughs, there’s actually nothing worth reading about this book.  I gave it a chance every chapter but alas, my frustration only worsens.

In terms of character development, Lives of Magic gave us half baked heroes and heroines that are almost indiscernible from one another. Gwen is irritating with her spending half the day thinking back and forth about Seth and Kian. Then she spends the other half whining about this and that.  I just want her to get a life and be someone whose life doesn’t revolve around her romantic woes.  Even Gwen’s romantic interest in this book, Kian, is as bland as my morning porridge.  To be fair with the author, she really attempted to develop him however, it felt phony. At times, I find his voice very inconsistent. His occasional flare for melodrama is somewhat disconcerting and didn’t suit his personality at all. He doesn’t even have the air of someone who lived in the past.  Seth, Garrison and Moira felt more like unnecessary distractions rather than being important characters. It’s like if they’re not present in a particular scene, you can just forget about them.

Concerning the prose, Lives of Magic also flopped. It was too simplistic and lacklustre for my taste. It didn’t manage to draw me in. And the pop culture had my eyes rolling skywards and sidewards. Also include the fact that the interactions and dialogues were mediocre, I ended up practically talking to myself, re-enacted the scenarios in my head adding my own touch to the dialogues.

But what ruined it all for me was the PLOT. It moved in a very sluggish way that would even give the turtles a very good headstart. What’s worst is the fact that it was punctured with a lot of nonsensical stuff like thoughts of avocado wrap and tea; endless practice about self-defence, and constant moving.  There’s also the constant mention of global warming and stuff like that. The flood of Gwen’s dreams was frustrating to the point that I didn’t bother reading some of them. The revelation of truths was done in a brazen way.  Instead of using the gradual approach, the author always opted to overload me with information. The first chapter immediately suffered from a terrible info dump and then midway, I was just given weak snippets of the past. They were so weak that they failed to build any tension at all. And then at the end, there was another infodump. It would’ve been okay if the timing was great but it wasn’t. To make the story short, the plot was not only dull but had a lot of holes given that the author failed to construct a solid story about the whole magician war thing.  For example, the things mentioned below were not explained well:

  1. How come Kian doesn’t have magic when his brother, Seth, is gifted with one?
  2. Is Kian the only one left in the tribe? Where are the other members of the tribe when it was clearly shown in the flashback that there were a lot of people who witnessed Gwen and Co. sacrifice? Where was the king?
  3. Why is Kian immortal?
  4. Why is it that Kian managed to track Gwen when he couldn’t track the other reincarnated magicians and had to rely on the latter’s capability to find them?
  5. Why is it that the evil magicians didn’t just kidnap Gwen and Co., bring their memories back and suck their powers dry? Why do they need to rely on someone incompetent when they could immediately know the location of the others through their magic? Garrison and Seth have been using magic for years and the magicians didn’t feel them? Instead they bribed Kian to find Gwen and Co.

I could go on and on with my questions for this book but I’m already at 1000 words so let’s get moving and be done with this lengthy review.  Because the character development and plot didn’t work for me, I thought the world building would come to the rescue. But boy oh boy, Lives of Magic really wanted to push my limits as a reader. The world building totally sucked and didn’t offer something new to the table.  Oregon, New York and England were just described as it is without the author putting in an effort in embellishing the said places with magic.

Overall, I didn’t hate Lives of Magic. But I regretted the time I spent reading it. I regretted the fact that it has a lot of potential that the author has failed to harness.  If only things were done in a more sophisticated way, then perhaps I would’ve seen this book in a better light.  The Seven Wanderers Trilogy is, unfortunately, another series that I wouldn’t be continuing.

0.5 stars because it’s not the worst book I’ve read.

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