Spellbound it the second book in Blake Charlton’s trilogy, following Spellwright. It continues the story of cacographic wizard Nicodemus Weal as he struggles to defeat the demon that has taken a part of Nico and stored it in an emerald. The demon plans to use the emerald to help construct dragons and start the long-prophesied War of Dysjunction and allow demons to take over the world. That’s a simplified version of the plot, but it is complex and difficult to summarize without spoilers. I enjoyed Spellwright quite a bit. The idea of magic having defined spelling and syntax, and being composed in sentences is intriguing and different. And what do you do when you are a cacograher like Nico? When, every time you touch a spell, it misspells and eventually dissolves?
I wanted to enjoy this one as much as the first, but I found it a bit difficult and slow reading. I thought I had a decent grasp on the magic system, but the long passages detailing the construction and use of the spell sentences were first, far too frequent, and second, confusing. We are also introduced to some other magic weilders: a physician who is a wizard but isn’t, because she’s a healer, and although the magic is constructed and used much the same way, she isn’t really a wizard? I think. And the wind mages who control cloth, turning it into windsails and airships, but can only use their magic on cloth and construct it in their hearts. Other wizards construct their sentences in every muscle of their bodies. I was a bit confused.
I also had hopes for Nico himself. At the end of the first book, he seemed to have gotten a bit of sense, but here, he’s back to the self-centered, moody boy he was in the beginning. And Francesca, the physician, was just a tad too much. I love a strong, snarky woman character, but Fran was a little over the top and came across, to me, more annoying than fun.
And, now, I have made this sound like a terrible book, and it wasn’t. The magic system is different and intriguing, quite unlike anything I’ve read before. The plot is interesting, there is intrigue and danger and action throughout. The world is well-made. It just got a bit bogged down in explanations and that slowed things in places. I will read the third book. I do want to see how it all turns out.
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