Robert Negut's Reviews > Heiress Of Magic

Heiress Of Magic by Sonya Lano
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really liked it

Let me start this with what I can say in a rather clear and coherent manner: Heiress of Magic is exquisitely written, brilliantly descriptive and brimming with emotion and enchantment and thrilling action scenes. Reading it transports you into its world, into that time and those places and into the lives of the characters. It lets you... No; it makes you see, at times it makes you smell or taste, but most of all, it makes you feel. And you will feel its impact, punching through your guts all the way into your soul, tearing through everything in between.
So you see why this is difficult to write, and why the book itself was difficult to read, especially past a certain point. Wasn't so bad at first, when the characters were simply infuriating and I went from frustration to anger to occasional bouts of raw rage, but then that fury became more and more of a defense mechanism, occasionally getting out of control mainly to mask the fear it was eventually overpowered by. And that fear was at first for those same characters, as I was starting to truly care for them despite continuing to wish them eternal damnation, yet as I kept reading I was more and more afraid for myself as well, noticing how it was affecting me. As I approached the end, I was getting nauseous, even had bad dreams about it, and it became truly difficult to persuade myself to read the final chapters, knowing that there was at least one scenario, and possibly two, which may well have resulted in me huddled under my desk, hugging my knees among dust bunnies and maybe a few bugs, completely broken.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This should be the part where I pick at flaws, yet what could I say? That there seems to be an overabundance of magic which is at times abused, wasted or used in too flashy a manner? Perhaps, but it makes sense within the world created and, either way, it contributes to the sense of enchantment, though the cartoon kitchen scene may have been just a bit too much. Then, maybe that a few things are a tad too convenient? Possibly, but probably less than the norm and usually when the matter would have been settled one way or another anyway, so it may be a matter of a few simplifications which may well be welcome among everything else. So should I then highlight the one moment when a sex scene seemed pointless at first? Not at all, since even that made sense later, and otherwise every single one served a clear purpose, aiding character development and being crucial in establishing the emotional connection between the reader and the characters. Which probably leaves me with rolling my eyes at a couple of "power of love" moments? But even those fit and not having them would significantly lessen the whole. So, maybe just that everybody has quite a sweet tooth, noticed almost whenever food is mentioned? I guess; may that be the problem.

Still, those would be the potential minor issues I may mention while nitpicking. The major ones have to do with the supposedly positive characters, whose mentality, choices and behavior are responsible for a large part of the grief caused to themselves, each other and plenty of others, and for nearly all of that experienced by you and me, the readers, while reading this. In fact, as my frustration was increasing, the first thoughts I spelled out were that they wouldn't be worth the spit if spat on and that, if they're the ones who may save that world, and for whom it may be saved, it definitely shouldn't be.
Repressed, infuriatingly obedient, suicidally kind to enemies while at times frighteningly hurtful and simply dangerous to friends and loved ones, and overall often making the wrongest decisions, acting in the wrongest ways and yet claiming and believing it was right, and that what would have been right was wrong. Out of all of them, probably only Olsen and, most notably, Falavia may save things somewhat, and I laughed out loud at the first section featuring them, but their particular predicament restricts what one may truly learn about them.
It's difficult to go into more detail without spoilers, but I find myself feeling the need to, so... First things first, why was Ithar still alive two seconds later? And then to say, and to suggest, and... I can't even picture him without a few additions such as being burned, skinned and butchered alive and eventually hung with his own entrails, and even that may be too little. Then, is that Jolina giblet for real? I mean, seriously? And Essence, such a waste of all that power. And all the parts with and about children, which anger me for different reasons. And then, of course, the heartwrenching yet even more infuriating trio of Lysium, Loren and, perhaps for rather opposite reasons, Lothram.
Plus, in a more specific yet at the same time more general sense, I can't not point out the fact that many male characters go the way of the caveman when it comes to romance and it seems to work. I was actually making a note rather early on that there seems to be a lot of raping, of various sorts, going on in this book and the outcome often goes along the lines of "a no is really a yes in disguise". But, based on anecdotal evidence of what sells in recent years, this seems to be how things go and I may be the unusual one for being bothered by it, especially since I'm a man myself.

Despite all that, it's obviously not a matter of not being affected by or invested in the characters, as they definitely got powerful reactions out of me all along, nor is it a matter of not caring about them. May have been at first, when pretty much the only reaction was anger, but then, with every chapter, every page, maybe even with every sentence I read, I did grow to care for them more and more... While at the same time continuing to wish for someone to beat some sense into them and still thinking they deserved nothing short of eternal torment for what they did, or didn't do, or said, or didn't say.
There are some redeeming qualities here and there, for some more than others, but there's far too much to redeem and I was torn more and more between those opposites. Torn between caring and hating, which isn't too strong a word in this case. Torn between gloating over their pain and suffering, feeling it was still too little compared to what they deserved, and desperately wishing to support, help and protect them, more often than not from themselves... Which was, of course, impossible, since I was just reading a book.
And the thing is that I don't usually get particularly invested in individual characters. I can sort of like some, not stand others, prefer some things, get somewhat angry over others, but in the grand scheme of things they're not real and even if they'd be I don't know them; it's the battles with the fate of the world on the table that get to me. But here it was just the "fate of the world" part that I sort of shrugged at, while the characters... They're not real and I don't know them? Well, tell that to whatever it is inside me that sure made it feel that they are, and I do, and they're important and we're close and whatever happens to them reaches inside and tears me apart or puts me back together just as well. Which makes this one of the best written and, well, simply best books I've ever read... And at the same time something I just can't deal with, now or ever, as it tore away at what frayed bits of sanity and control I had left, trampled all over them and ran away with whatever pieces remained.

Yes, while the anger and frustration were generated by all, nearly all the heartache, but also nearly all positive emotional involvement of any sort, came from Lysium's story. But that is more than enough for all I've already said and more, as it's so exquisitely delivered and so completely overpowering in the parts written in the first person. This is the core of this story and its impact relegates anything and everything else to the periphery of your awareness. This is what made me keep coming back and continue reading even when I said I'll stop for the day, even when I said I'll do something else, even when I was truly frightened due to the effect it had on me and knew I needed to tear myself away, literally for my own safety.
If somebody'd have told me that this was what this book was about and I wouldn't have simply picked it up when it was temporarily made available for free, curious after having won Heiress of Healing on a Goodreads giveaway and reading it back then, I certainly wouldn't have spared it a second thought. And while I can't say whether that'd have been better, it'd have definitely been safer, and I believe I have already explained at length exactly why. I mean, I'm almost crying even now as I write this and, unlike most, for me it's next to impossible to cry when I'm alone, so the fact that tears don't actually break free of my eyes doesn't mean much. It's the fact that they almost do, and yet might, that does.

In the end... I might use all I said about the characters to justify taking away that last star, but in truth it's mainly a little petty way to "punish" the author for what she did to me. That said, I truly don't know whether I can in good conscience recommend this book to anyone, definitely not because I have any misgivings about its quality or value, but just because of this tidal wave of emotion that will slam into you if you choose to read it, taking your breath away and tearing your heart from your body to smash it into jagged cliffs of agony. Because, while the good news is that it's not just about a love triangle, the truth is that it's about souls skinned alive and roasted on a spit. And yours will be too if you read it. You have been warned.
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Reading Progress

January 1, 2015 – Shelved
January 1, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
December 14, 2015 – Started Reading
December 14, 2015 –
5.0%
December 15, 2015 –
11.0%
December 16, 2015 –
22.0%
December 17, 2015 –
41.0%
December 18, 2015 –
52.0%
December 19, 2015 –
63.0%
December 20, 2015 –
71.0%
December 21, 2015 –
85.0%
December 22, 2015 –
92.0%
December 23, 2015 – Finished Reading

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