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Review: Born to Magic – David Wind

Born to Magic - David Wind

Genre: Sci-Fantasy

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About The Book

If you lived in a Post Apocalyptic world of Epic Fantasy …What would you do if you were told the future of the world is in your hands? Princess Areenna of Freemorn expects her life to follow the normal path of marriage to a prince, and to eventually become a Queen. But the mysterious High King’s son has different plans.

  • Areenna of Freemorn is just coming of age and discovering her powers when she is called to a place of magic from which few ever return.
  • Mikaal of Tolemac, the son of the High King holds a secret so dangerous it could shatter the fabric of the world should it become known.

3,000 years after America is destroyed by nuclear war, the inhabitants have evolved, embracing magic and metaphysical warfare. As enemies from across the seas begin to close in, ancient legends come alive, leaving no one safe. The only two who can stop the onset of the darkest evil is the sorceress,Areenna, and Mikaal, the son of the High King of Neveah. With the safety of the world in their hands, and their powers young and erratic, will Mikaal and Areenna find the courage and strength to overcome the impossible, or…

The Review

I like to alternate between science fiction and fantasy in my reading, so when I finished my last sci-fi read, I picked up a copy of David Wind’s sci-fantasy book Born to Magic. I was really excited to read it, because I love when books mix Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The story takes place on a future version of Earth, about 3000 years after a nuclear apocalypse. This isn’t much of a spoiler because it’s revealed pretty early on, and the map is fairly transparent about the location.

Neveah Map

The world has settled into a medieval state, with a twist. Although what used to be the United States has been cleared of radiation, many animals have mutated, and so have the remaining humans.

People are taller than they used to be, as are most of the animals, and women often develop the ability to do magic, although the author insists there is a scientific basis for it.

The nation of Neveah takes up most of what used to be the United States. In an early reveal, we find out that the high king who rules the 10 states of Neveah is actually a person from closer to our own time, who was part of a mission to find a new home for humanity and ended up coming back to a vastly changed world. One of my few small gripes with the story – I wish this reveal had been held for later in the story when it would have had more impact.

Areenna is the daughter of one of the ten lesser kings, and is the most promising magical student of her generation. Her mother died young, but not before passing on everything she knew to her only daughter.

Areenna has visions that lead her to believe that a vast darkness that was banished a generation before is about to return to Nevaeh. After a few strange and dangerous occurances prove her vision true, she sets off on a quest with a high kings, son, Mikaal, and together they cross the lands, gathering more abilities as they go and learning about their shared destiny together, on a journey to a mysterious place called the island. There they will be tested, and if not found worthy they will both die.

The book started off a little slow and a little scattered, with a number of points of view that took a bit to sort out. The author also is in the habit of head hopping within scenes, something that always annoys me.

But once the quest starts, things really start moving. Mikaal is the first man who can do Magic – up until then, powers have been reserved only to women – and he has an unexplained connection to Areenna. As they travel together, they learn more about each other and their powers, and how to combine them in a way that makes both of them stronger.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the idea that, in order to master his own magic, Mikaal needed to learn how to release his desire to control everything. But it’s not a one-way street Arena also has things to learn from Mikaal, including how to defend herself physically, although she’s no slouch to begin with.

I also loved the bits of present day technology and the ruins that fill the story. They provide a wonderful bit of sci-fi flavor in what’s otherwise a fantasy quest story. The dark forces in the book are suitably evil, although they tend to try the same tactics over and over again. I’m hoping in future stories, they’ll get a little more creative.

Born to Magic is an inventive, entertaining fantasy quest that most put me in mind of the Green Land books by J.G. Follansbee. As a story goes on, we become more and more invested in Areenna, and Mikaal and their quest, and in their relationship together. It’s a great start to a promising new series – I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.  

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