I rarely read fantasy. I tend towards modern literary fiction, the classics, and nonfiction. However, my movie and TV watching has begun delving more into the fantasy realm as of late thanks to the influence of several friends. So, when I was offered the chance to review The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales based on the description that it would appeal to fans of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, I was intrigued enough to dive in.
The first night I decided to just read a chapter since I'd already had a long day and knew I had an early morning. Next thing I know, even though it feels like only five minutes had passed, I was on page 41. Even though I stopped myself that evening in the hopes of making it through the next day without being completely bleary eyed, I found the rest of the book to move this quickly.
The story takes place in a world where sorcerers are the ruling class. Told through a 3rd person omniscient point of view, the main characters are Gala, Blaise, Augusta, and Barson. Blaise and Augusta are both sorcerers and exes who unsurprisingly are far from on good terms. Gala is Blaise's magical creation who appears in human form. Barson is a warrior as well as Augusta's new lover. Blaise though one of the most brillant of the sorcerers has chosen to leave the ruling council to live in exile. It is in this exile where he has spent a year researching and creating Gala with the intent of bringing magic to all not just the sorcerers. Naturally, the potential of Gala's power creates a riff in an already somewhat unstable world among those who find about her which is the main conflict within the story.
The authors physical descriptions are sparse at best. My few dalliances into the world of fantasy prior to this book tended to involve authors who provided both descriptions of both the characters and their surroundings that were so clear I could picture it all quite vividly. However, Zales' description of Gala is so limited that I can only tell you she is the most beautiful creature anyone has seen with blonde hair possibly thin with skin that glows; and, I believe she is the character's whose physique is the most fleshed out. For me, this lack of description does leave me a bit less connected to the narrative as I don't feel they are as whole as I do in most novels.
I would not say the characters are not necessarily one dimensional as most have secret motivations and many find themselves conflicted morally by actions they feel they must take.
Finding a character's motivation less than believable is a pet peeve of mine in stories. While the author does eventually give us clues to most character's backstories that allow us to understand for instance why Blaise has made it his obsession for the previous year to create a magical creature, Gala's carnal desire for Blaise feels contrived to say the least and somewhat disturbing as he at one point indicates he is her creator indicating a parental role.
This book is the first in a two part series. So, very little of the plot is concluded when the novel ends. Despite the criticisms I may have of the book, I find myself needing to read the second book to find out how everything ends. I certainly hope the second book spends a good deal more time on character development as well as wrapping up the storyline.
I would say this book is enough for even a teen to read containing no profanity, very limited gore despite multiple battle scenes, and only allusions to sex but no sex or even sexually explicit descriptions even of the characters. However, even if you considered this book to be young adult fiction, adults will enjoy it as well.
As of today, I noted that this book is available for free on Amazon here, though the regular price is only $2.99 which is what it was just a week ago. I am not sure how long it is available for free, so I recommend scooping it up now while it is still free.