Review: “Origin of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Interesting plot and characters
Cons: Some formulaic elements
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

In book one of Linsey Hall’s The Protector, Nix was accused of murdering an ally of the vampires, and had to prove her innocence. In so doing, she kicked off her own task in the Triumvirate’s prophecy, and discovered a mysterious cult of dragon-tattooed men and demons. In book two, she had to make her way through several potentially deadly trials in order to prove herself an ally of the vampires and thus gain their secrecy regarding her identity as a FireSoul. Not only did she succeed, but the vampires’ goddesses of fate insisted that the vampires needed to help Nix with her task. In Origin of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Protector Book 3), Nix discovers that the bad guy she’s hunting is also hunting her. She needs to use a special artifact to puzzle out an ancient prophecy regarding the dragons, but first she’s going to have to track down an old man who knows how to make a particular potion. Along the way she’ll discover her home, find out the origins of her new and unusual powers, and nearly get killed several times over.

There’s an ongoing plot about an artifact with indecipherable powers. In this installment Nix finds out that she needs to use it in conjunction with a particular potion to puzzle out the meaning of an encrypted prophecy. Del speculates about her ability to use her time-turning power to get in touch with the person who created the artifact. This left me wondering why she couldn’t just turn back time to a point where the beaker was filled with potion. That does seem to be the sort of thing she should do, given how her powers have behaved in the past. This is part of why I don’t like history-altering powers. They tend to break worlds and create plot holes.

I’m finding Nix’s new powers over plant life to be fascinating. Also her slowly growing connection to Ares–which, as it turns out, allows him to track her. I still find Nix and Ares to be the best of the three romantic couples, even though the whole “bulked, handsome, powerful, unusual, disgustingly wealthy boyfriend” thing is repeated as a formula for all three women.

Although the bad guy is still fairly one-dimensional, the rest of the characters get plenty of attention. I particularly like Nix’s mother–it’s nice that the protagonists aren’t the only badass women in these books. They are as a whole depicted as strong characters. The lands surrounding the bad guy’s stronghold are also interesting, as is the local guide the women find. The effects of the bad guy’s evil on the land are fascinating.

This isn’t my favorite of Hall’s Dragon’s Gift novels, but I’m still enjoying the ride and look forward to the next installment.

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