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Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown is a mash up of Jane Austen with a dash of the Napoleonic wars. The setting is a world in which magic exists, and that England even has a royal sorcerer as an official position. To prevent the world from drifting too far off history, the story has it such that sorcerers on both sides are forsworn from entering the battlefield.

Into this milleu, the plot revolves around a couple of outsiders: an African ex-slave who through a sequence of unlikely events becomes the royal sorcerer, and a child abandoned by her father when he drowns and brought up in a magical finishing school for girls. The two characters meet, interact, and of course have adventures that reveal all their secrets to each other.

The writing was transparent, the plot moves quickly (unlike say, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, where the plot moved at such a glacial pace that I abandoned the book long before my library loan period was up). All the words are spelled English-style, rather than American style, lending the book a nicely English flavor.

Recommended as a light airplane novel. Too many attempts to write fantasy have drowned in recent years due to annoying affectations in the writing style, so it's important to single out transparent prose when you see it.

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