Review: “Trial By Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Great fun
Cons: Semi-formulaic
Rating: 4 out of 5

Linsey Hall’s Trial by Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Protector Book 2) is an excellent continuation to the Dragon’s Gift world. In book one of the sub-series “The Protector” Nix was accused of murdering an ally of the vampires. The vampires don’t believe in innocent until proven guilty, so she was forced to prove her innocence or risk death. Ares, the Enforcer of the vampires and one-third of their government, was in charge of investigating the crime–though he began to develop feelings for Nix. Luckily Nix proved her innocence and dealt with the murderer–but not before finding out that her portion of the prophesied Triumvirate’s tasks has begun, and has something to do with a cult of people with dragon tattoos. In book two, Nix finds out that the other two-thirds of the vampire government, Doyen and Magisteria, haven’t decided yet that they’ll keep her secret from the Order of Magica. First, Nix must pass several trials to prove herself a worthy ally of the vampires. Ares will be with her the whole way, but for the most part he isn’t allowed to help her–and the tests can be deadly.

Nix is my favorite of the Triumvirate. She’s as snarky as Del and Cass, but in a more whimsical and silly way, and she has a kind of sensitivity and wholesomeness to her that’s unusual in urban fantasy. Since these books can get a bit formulaic, it’s nice to see something refreshing. I also like the fact that her sensitivity in no way stops her from being a smart, tough badass. Ares and Nix are also my favorite couple. It feels like the author has become more comfortable with writing mild romance in each character’s sub-series. So Cass and Aidan didn’t have a lot of chemistry, Roarke and Dell had more, and Nix and Ares have the most.

The trials plot is handled well. Sure, it’s just an excuse to put Nix through hell and have Ares forced to choose between following his people’s rules or helping her, but the tension is real. The ending is never in doubt, but new and interesting things are learned along the way. Nix is forced to draw harder on her powers than ever before. She and Ares are drawn closer together. She even makes a few new friends along the way.

We also get a little bit of a peek into Nix’s upcoming ‘task’. We don’t entirely know what it is, but she encounters more of the weird cult members and gets a few pointers from some goddesses of fate. (That’s right–we’re cranking up the epic level!) Of course I’m going to have to hang on for the ride and see where Nix’s fate takes her!

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