Plot: This extremely well-plotted story provides genuine elements of surprise, an evocative sense of place, and an action-filled narrative arc. Magical elements are gracefully balanced with the story's more pedestrian concerns, while the familial conflicts are reminiscent of fairy tales.
Prose: The author's writing style is clear, crisp, and authoritative. Nicol doesn't mince words, and the tone can come across as breezy, but descriptions of settings and circumstances are often quietly lyrical. Battle scenes are especially well realized.
Originality: Nicol's story of sorcerer sibling rivalry offers a strikingly original and dynamic concept. The novel's central love story is well integrated, if predictable, while the magical content is vivid and marvelously fun.
Character Development: Reshi is a lovable rogue, while each sibling possesses a unique set of skills and attributes; the family members distinctly stand apart from one another, while forming a charmingly, ragtag collective.
Date Submitted: July 14, 2019
*Huge thanks to the author for providing a free paperback in exchange for an honest review!*Okay. Here’s the thing. I’m not a huge of medieval-ish fantasy stories. Or I’m just very selective about liking them. But DAMN. Sorcerous Rivalry shook me to my very core. It was beautiful, it was unique, it was magical, it was frustrating, and I loved every second of it.Sorcerous Rivalry takes place in a world of magic, of sorcerers and mages. After giving birth to seven children, the king’s mistress is revealed as a sorceress, and she is locked away. The children scattered, becoming the kingdom’s most wanted. Mage hunters travel far and wide, hoping to kill the king’s illegitimate children and gain money and glory. Reshi is the youngest of the seven; after growing up in an orphanage, he learns to hide his magic to live peacefully amongst others. But then a mage-hunter comes to town, and Reshi is forced to run. But when the stakes are so high, your own flesh and blood can turn against you.This was absolutely delightful. The plot was twisted and wild, crazy enough to keep me on my toes, and yet still with an intentional energy that kept me anticipative. But the book was also dotted with scenes that were cozy and warm, pacing the book in a way that was authentic to the adventure and comfortable for the reader.The characters were great. I absolutely love how the reader gets to know the characters through dialogue and actions, in real time, and their backstories are revealed later. You learn to love the characters for who they are, not where they’ve been or what they’ve done. The characters have great chemistry with one another, and I absolutely love the authenticity of relationship dynamics between friends, between siblings, and between lovers. A little sidenote – this book has a dash of M/M romance, and I love the fact that it’s not highlighted as that. It’s just love.And the writing style was great. As mentioned before, there was a great balance between plot-driven action and more domestic scenes, and as a result not only do we get to understand the characters in different settings and situations, but the author truly succeeded with her writing in creating different settings with visual imagery and atmosphere.Overall, I would definitely read this book to any lovers of young adult fantasy, and I think fans of books like The Grisha Trilogy or The Young Elites would like this as well. I would love to continue reading this series to find out where Reshi’s adventure leads him. 5/5 stars
Oh man, I really loved this book. Let me count the ways.
In the beginning I was a little bit confused by our main character, but things were cleared up pretty fast. I love Reshi! I really do have a soft spot for these types of characters–freewheeling, bit of a rogue, devil may care, but fostering some kind of deep hurt on the inside. Reshi’s also a huge flirt and I kind of love that about him, especially when it contrasts well with the serious nature of other characters such as Kestral. Overall, I thought all the characters were well-written, but especially the main characters we spend the most time with were really fleshed out. I wish we’d gotten to know some of the siblings more, but perhaps in the next book we’ll spend a little more time with one or two of them. I also love not only that this book has LBGT characters but how they’re presented within the world of Sorcerous Rivalry. The fact that they’re not treated as different or outsiders, that these types of relationships are so unremarkable in the world of the book, feels quite refreshing.
The pacing of the book is great. Events keep our characters moving on from one thing to another. There is quite a bit of traveling in the book, but it never feels bogged down or boring. The authors uses these scenes to let us get to know the characters as they learn about each other through various conversations and activities.
The magic system is just the kind that I like. There are rules but it’s also vague enough that some cool hand-wavy magic happens. I like that the siblings each have different powers and that many of them are elemental magic. Each of the mages has clear strengths and weaknesses, which really makes for some fun battles. I mean, as much fun as siblings trying to kill each other and absorb each other’s powers can be fun.
Overall, I thought Sorcerous Rivalry was a really fun read. There are a lot of things about it that put me in mind of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and I mean that in the best possible way. Lot’s of travelling, running into conflicts, fun asides with characters, and interesting battles. Give this one a try if you’re looking for a refreshing take on classic sword and sorcery. 4.5/5 stars.