Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mark of the Mage (3)

Mark of the Mage, by R.K. Ryals
And now for something a bit lighter. The news is depressing enough, I've decided to run away to fantasy land where people may be burned at the stake for being mages BUT on the plus side, it's a work of fiction and I don't need to write a letter about how this is obviously not ok.

First, I want to thank my friend who recommended this book to me, and I want to apologize for not loving it as much as you did. I have a hard time taking it seriously after reading three books in a row about racial/social justice - it's not this book's fault, it's mine.

In the year of the Dragon, a kingdom will be divided. Twins will be born to the sovereign. These male heirs will be greedy. They will seek power. They will war amongst themselves, and their kingdom will be split in two. 

Mark of the Mage is about Drastona, a 16-year-old girl living in Medeisia. In Medeisia, King Raemon has outlawed mages, and they are being systematically rounded up and burned alive at the stake. Mages are born, not made, and midwives have been trained to feel their power at birth and turn them in.

Drastona (Stone for short) is the daughter of the Medeisian Ambassador to Sadeemia, Garod, and wants nothing more than to study to become a scribe. But when King Raemon outlaws scribes and her father is called to King Raemon's court, her life is thrown into chaos. When her maid is burned at the stake for being a mage, Stone is marked as a scribe, and begins to find her own mage's powers as well. Stone is marked once but twice cursed and becomes part of a group of Rebels, meets dragons, and trains to be part of the resistance.

This is the kind of book I like to read in one sitting on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But I didn't finish it in one day so it took me three weeks to finish it because I have a hard time focusing on dragons who can take human form when the actual news is as terrible as it is. Again, that's more of a personal problem. I needed a nice sunny summer day to read this, not ground zero of the resistance. And it is still a little too close to home. In Medeisia, mages and scribes are branded, hence "mark of the mage," which seemed a little ridiculous. But here in the real world we've seen people branded (Nazi's made Jew's wear stars, and eventually tattooed ID numbers on their arms), and America's banning Muslims fleeing terror, or working for the country, from enterering or re-entering the country. So maybe my problem isn't that Mark of the Mage is too fluffly or far-fetched, but that it's too close to home without giving me steps to fight back. In books, evil is fought with swords and magic. I don't have swords or magic, only pens and the internet, but I want to be part of the Resistance too.

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