is an archaeology student in an industrial empire powered
by magic. He is one of those who can use it, and unearths
a very special book while excavating a tomb. The book was
once a real woman a thousand years earlier, and she was turned
into a book by the most powerful wizard of the time. Now Vella
talks to those who hold her via words on the pages, and thus
Tyen realizes he has a treasure that could prove dangerous.
Elsewhere Rielle lives in a land where priests rule and where
magic is the realm of the angels. She can see magic and has
to keep this secret, as any magic is likely to run the risk
of her regarded as tainted. But both Tyen and Rielle are going
to learn that everything they think they know about magic
is not exactly true
Ms Canavan is the bestselling author of the Black Magicians
trilogy and other popular books, so you know to expect a good
yarn. She is adept at world building, and quickly sketches
in enough details to avoid the dreaded info dump, but let
the reader know enough to feel immersed in a new place. Both
her characters have plenty of adventures and the pace is admirably
fast for a doorstop-sized novel. This is partly achieved by
having a section about one character, and then a section about
the other and having them get shorter as the book progresses.
Expect surprises, although certainly some of the things that
happen can easily be guessed at. It is due to this author's
storytelling skills that even the clichés are made
to be interesting enough and I was left thinking that I would
rather read an enjoyable and well-told tale like this than
something that is merely original. This is the sort of fantasy
I have been enjoying for a long time and continue to do so.
Thanks to the right sort of ending I am also left hoping that
book two won't be too far in the future. If you like real
fantasy, you ought to like this.