Review: “Forged in Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Fantastic extended fight scenes; moving ending
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

Linsey Hall’s Forged in Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Protector Book 5) is an excellent conclusion to both the five-book “The Protector” sub-series and the fifteen-book collection covering the entire Triumvirate (links to all three collected sub-series can be found at the bottom). Nix has had a long journey so far. She was accused of murder and had to prove her innocence. She discovered where her unusual life magic came from and found her family. She fell for a half-vampire. She found out that several dragons are still alive–just hidden–and that she has to stop an evil creature called Drakon from taking their magic for himself. Now, it’s time for the final battle. She’s going to try to stop Drakon from finding an artifact that he needs, but let’s face it: we all know it won’t be that easy. Oh, did I say easy? Because she’s going to have to prove she’s worthy of the Greek gods themselves to try to get to that artifact first. Then she’ll have to follow that up by raising an army to fight Drakon and save the dragons.

On the one hand, Nix’s having to constantly prove herself worthy of various entities via trials and challenges is getting repetitive. On the other hand, it’s a great way to keep the action quotient up without having to resort solely to fights (even though there are plenty of those, too). It also goes nicely with the Indiana Jones-ish vibe Hall has going on and fits in with the notion of prophecies and fate. So honestly, I’ll roll with it.

There are a ton of fight scenes, some quite long. The final battle is extensive and complex, with some fantastic teamwork on the part of the good guys. I’ve always loved the fact that the characters in these books need to work with others, but it never undercuts their own agency and strength.

The characters are great, although I will say Drakon never truly rises above the level of force of nature. On the other hand, though, maybe that’s another thing that just fits right into the prophecies/fate/larger-than-life thing the author has going on. We get to see more of Ares and Nix together, although everything remains PG-rated (things happen behind closed doors). It’s also becoming clear that we’ll see more of Ana and Bree in further books, as the Triumvirate can’t help noting the similarities between the young girls and themselves.

Forged in Magic is my favorite of the Dragon’s Gift novels so far, which is entirely appropriate given that it’s the culmination of the Triumvirate’s story arc. There might have even been a few tears shed toward the end…

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