If there’s one woman I consider the mother of all things fantasy-themed, that’s Patricia McKillip. I remember reading her Riddlemaster Trilogy and literally squealing like the fangirl I am because of the plot twists and the flow of the story. So of course I would go after other titles of hers. And I didn’t regret this decision.
In Od Magic, we meet Brenden, a lonely man who came upon great magical power by observing the nature around him. Od, a woman so powerful and knowledgeable in the ways of magic that she built a school for people to learn said ways, too, finds him and asks him to become the new gardener at her school. Thus, Brenden travels there, only to stumble upon trouble, since his powers weren’t gained by the school’s education and are thereby considered dangerous. Add to that a travelling masked magician who illegally performs magic shows in the city’s Twilight Quarter and the kingdom’s princess running away in an effort to make her betrothed listen to her, and you have a mess in your hands spiralling out of control with every page turned!
I loved this book! Not only was it extremely well-paced, it also filled my time reading it with laughter and awe. McKillip is a master with inspiring quotes, and her way of storytelling resembles the old fairy tales, so it’s like reading something akin to the classics every time I open a book of hers.
The characters were all complex and yet so simple in their flaws and stereotypes. None of them escaped the portraiting they had gone through by the author, and they stayed true to their shown personas, so despite having to deal with a big cast, the reader still doesn’t get confused or lost. Moreover, the characters were not above some major growth. Most of them after they had acted wrong, which is another bonus of McKillip’s writing – no man is prone to changing his ways, unless experience and life have lead him to it.
Now that the whole general thing is out of the way, let’s talk about quotes. There was a particular line in the story that really made me shiver and brought tears to my eyes. At one point, Valoren, a talented yet very narrow-minded wizard, couldn’t comprehend how Yar, his old teacher, wasn’t seeing the danger in the ancient magical beings they found. And it was then that Yar told him, that those creatures Valoren so feared, were scared of him. Probably more than he was of them!
Do you people see the meaning those words, or was I the only one with the theory on it?! Yar was stating, loud and clear, that while these beings of unimaginable power could very well end Valoren in the blink of an eye, they still trembled at the possibility that Valoren would decide to destroy them. It goes to show that, just because we see someone bigger and stronger than us, someone we know can outdo us and squash us like bugs, it doesn’t mean that said someone doesn’t have their own insecurities and fears. We consider some people dangerous, but have we ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, those same people might think the same of us? In a social level, especially these days, that line of Yar’s speaks volumes of what true humanity really is.
Before I finish this review, there’s one last thing I want to mention: the end scene. Oh my God, that ending was spectacular! I love circular stories, and this one wasn’t an exception. Whenever a story ends in a similar or the same way that it started, a good portion of my brain cells is singing hallelujah and throwing flowers out of handmade straw baskets!
All in all, a great book. Perfect for cuddling up in your bed with right before you go to sleep.