Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters; intriguing story and world building
Cons: None, but be aware this is a little darker than his earlier series
The Bottom Line:
Monster attack and
Magic start this great new series
You’ll soon be hooked on
Intriguing Series Debut
I’ve loved both of James Riley’s other two series, so I pretty much bought The Revenge of Magic sight unseen and started reading it as soon as I could. My faith was rewarded because this new series is off to a great start.
It’s been six months since the attack on Washington, D.C. Six months since Forsythe “Fort” Fitzgerald’s world was turned upside down when a giant creature comes up from the ground and destroys many of the monuments there, killing his father in the process. In that time, one thought has kept Fort moving forward – the desire for revenge.
One day, Fort is surprised to be visited by the representatives of a school for magic. Thirteen years ago, four magic books were found and only those born after they were discovered can read and use them. When Fort is offered a chance to study at this school, he jumps on it, figuring this is a chance to learn something to help him extract his revenge. However, not everything at the school is what it seems. Can Fort learn what people are hiding from him? Or will he be kicked out before that happens?
If you’ve read James’s other series, you will be a little surprised to find that the tone of this series is a shade darker than his earlier ones. Yes, there is still some humor, but it isn’t as prevalent. The set up does call for something more serious in tone, so this is completely appropriate. Do note that I said this is a shade darker. It’s still not dark by any stretch of the imagination, and I think it is appropriate for the target middle grade audience.
Since this is the first in a new series, there is quite a bit of world building going on. While there are certainly tropes from the fantasy genre here, James has some twists on it that makes it his own, and we need to learn everything we can about this new world where we’ll be spending time in the books to come. Sometimes I feel that this can slow things down, but I didn’t feel that happened here. There are more explanations early on in the book, but the questions Fort gets begin to take over before we get bogged down learning about this new world.
And once Fort gets to the school, things really pick up the pace. He has plenty of question, and learning the answers only seem to lead to more questions. I am very intrigued by the threads for the next book left dangling at the end of this one, and I can’t wait to see where Fort’s journey takes him from here.
Wherever that is, he’ll be surrounded by a great group of characters. Yes, he has some friends and some enemies already, and everyone seems to be hiding something. I suspect that what we learn in this book is just the outer layer of what people are hiding, and I can’t wait to find out more. From what we see here, these characters are already well developed. Obviously, Fort is the most developed since this is his story.
I’m intrigued by this new world that James Riley has created, and I’m anxious to see where he intends to take Fort. Buy The Revenge of Magic today so you don’t get left behind on this magical new series.
This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.