Review: “Threat of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Tense battles and creative planning
Cons: Books are formulaic; minor issues
Rating: 4 out of 5

In book one of Linsey Hall’s “The Amazon” (book 26 of her “Dragon’s Gift” universe) Rowan had to keep her demon-touched power secret, start integrating her Dragon God magic, make nice with her new (and hot) teacher Maximus, and stop a couple of monstrous demon-birds from feeding on humans. In book two, Maximus came to the Protectorate for their help: the evil witches were trying to steal the magical artifact that was a prize in a magical race. Maximus needed Rowan to be his partner in the race so they could get the prize instead. In book three, Rowan had to track down the Amazons, save them and Atlas, and figure out what the Stryx are up to next. Now, in Threat of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Amazon Book 4), Rowan is splitting her time between training with the Amazons and seeking out seers who might be able to find the Stryx and the three freed Titans. One seer indicates that the goddess Hecate might know where the Stryx are, and Rowan and Maximus are off to the underworld.

This is the second time, I think, that the sisters have had to break into an underworld. So, it’s great that they think to talk to Nix and all, but what about Roarke? The man is the freaking Warden of the Underworlds, and no one thinks to go to him for advice or help when going to an underworld! That’s kind of a glaring plot hole, there. (The poor guy gets no love.)

As in Ana and Bree’s plot arcs, Rowan is learning more of how to use her magics. Artemis’s power has more facets than originally anticipated, and another new power makes an appearance. It’s nicely handled. There are so many unusual abilities at play now that Hall can make her climactic scenes, if anything, even more tense and creative. Mordaca and Aerdeca make a brief appearance, and it goes so entirely unexplained that I can only assume it has something to do with other books Hall might put out, centered around those two sisters. Since Hall seems to like creating her main characters in threes, it makes me wonder if we’ll find out that Mordaca and Aerdeca have a third sister, and then see another 15 books come out centered on them.

The task-and-resolution formula that Hall follows almost religiously is a little shaken up this time, which is nice. These are some excellent comfort-read books (the characters never get too badly hurt; the romances always go well; the reader always knows roughly what to expect), but the same things that make them comfortable also make them less exciting and tense than they could be. Whether that’s a good trade-off depends on what sort of reading you’re in the mood for.

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