Review: “Attack by Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Managed to be surprisingly tense despite the formula
Cons: The formula
Rating: 4 out of 5

Book one of The Valkyrie saw Bree (and her sister Ana) join the magical Undercover Protectorate to chase down their current nemesis, Ricketts, and get the antidote to the poison he’d used on them. Book two saw the Fae portal on the Protectorate’s castle grounds get cursed, starting to corrupt and destroy the castle, leaving Bree and Cade to lead a raid to fix it. In book three, Bree needed to find a way to “fix” the powers jostling for control inside of her–before she could lose them, and her soul, for good. Now, in Linsey Hall’s Attack by Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie Book 4), Bree and Ana finally have a lead on their missing sister, Rowan! They know the Rebel Gods have her, and it’s time to track down those gods and find a way to disrupt the enchantment that keeps Rowan bound. First stop: a heavenly realm where they’ll have to fight in a variety of death matches to even get close to the god who runs the place.

I look to these books for certain things: excellent, extensive fight scenes, kick-ass women of all types, a sweet touch of respectful romance, and in the case of the Valkyrie books specifically, some adorable Pugs of Destruction. I do not, however, look for great stakes and surprises, because the formula dictates certain things. In each book, there shall be one (1) task, which shall be outlined at the beginning of the book, and which shall be accomplished by the end. (This is book nineteen in the Dragon’s Gift universe, so I don’t expect to see variation on this any time soon.) It’s the particulars of the trials encountered and the details of the inevitable battle scenes that vary. This time, despite the foregone conclusion, things were cut close enough to the wire that I felt genuine tension. It was delightful! Some of the traps and pitfalls the sisters and their allies encounter are daunting indeed, and it became difficult to imagine them succeeding.

At the beginning of Attack by Magic, Bree can fly but can no longer cast any sort of ranged attack magic. I know I’ve griped before that there’s no reason why none of the characters in these books use guns, but that has never been more true than it is here. Until she gains new ranged offensive magic, there’s nothing she can do from a distance except throw a dagger, which shouldn’t be nearly as effective. And since she can fly, she should want to take advantage of all the ranged firepower she can get. It’s a minor thing, but it’s like that pebble in your shoe that just won’t stop pinching.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It’s about time we got to see more of Rowan, who disappeared roughly five years earlier. I can’t wait to see what she’s like in the next book.

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