Review: “Power of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Great action; tearful ending
Cons: Books are formulaic; one important spot doesn’t hold up
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: 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 were up to next. In book four, Rowan and Maximus visited a seer who sent them off to track down the goddess Hecate. Now, in Power of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Amazon Book 5), Rowan gets an audience with the Great One of the Amazons, a seer. Through her she communicates with the three Titans the good guys have been trying to track down. The Titans straight-out invite Rowan to come to them at their fortress so they can kill her, and even give her a map. Sure, she knows it’s a trap and they’re only doing it to kill her, but it is true that she needs to get to them. First, she’ll just have to make a side-trip to Mount Olympus to gain the rest of her Dragon God powers!

My sisters had both gotten wings when they’d become Dragon Gods. To be honest, I’d quite like a pair myself.

Unless I turned into a bug. That’d be a letdown.

The formula holds true, of course. Our heroes set off on a major task or two (finalize Rowan’s powers; take out the Titans). They have to prove themselves worthy to various gods and other creatures. Since it’s the final book in the series heading up to a huge fight, the heroes collect new allies along the way who offer to show up to said final battle. The positive thing is that this tried-and-true Linsey Hall formula enables some great stuff. The worthiness tests allow Hall to explore an insanely wide variety of challenges, escapes, and trials that aren’t all straight-out fights. Rowan, like her sisters, gets a fun new form she can assume and gets to use that.

The one thing Rowan has had that her sisters did not (nor the Fire Souls) is her ‘darkness’ that she retained from her time being controlled by the Rebel Gods. It’s been obvious from the start that the question of how she’d deal with this darkness would be important to the finale. The problem is, the darkness has been largely abstracted. It’s a force that every now and then threatens to get free and gives Rowan a few dark thoughts. When it isn’t rumbling to get out, it’s nowhere to be seen at all. Because of this, the climactic moments in which she inevitably has to fight off the worst of the darkness are neither tense nor believable. If instead the darkness had contributed to a buildup of darker behavior and emotion on the whole, it would have been easy to buy into the idea that Rowan really was getting called to the dark side.

One of the real payoffs in this volume, of course, is the climactic battle of The Amazon sub-series. It’s a little on the short side for what I’d expect from book 30, but on a par with some of the others from other sub-series endings. It also had some lovely emotional moments and there might have been a tear or two in my eye. Just for a minute there, anyway.

This is a solid climax to the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Hall does next! A friend and I are half-convinced there’ll be an installment about Aerdeca and Mordaca.

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