Blog Archive

View My Stats
Thursday, September 15, 2022

Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans (reviewed by Shazzie)

 


Official Author Website
Order Notorious Sorcerer over here - U.S. | U.K.
 
OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Davinia Evans was born in the tropics and raised on British comedy. With a lifelong fantasy-reading habit and an honours thesis in political strategy, it was perhaps inevitable that she turn to a life of crafting stories full of sneaky ratbags tangling with magic. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with two humans (one large and one small), a neurotic cat and a cellar full of craft beer. Dee talks more about all of that on Twitter as @cupiscent. Come say hi.
 
 
OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Welcome to Bezim, where tribes of sword-slinging bravi race through the night, and where rich and idle alchemists make magic out of mixing the four planes of reality.

Siyon Velo, Dockside brat turned petty alchemist, scrapes a living hopping between the planes to harvest ingredients for the city’s alchemists. But when Siyon accidentally commits and act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight – which is a bad place to be when the planes start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the city into the sea. 

It will take a miracle to save Bezim. Good thing Siyon has pulled off the impossible before. Now he has to master it. 
 
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: This is the first book in the Burnished City series. I picked up this book twice and put it down so I could return when I was in the kind of mental space where I could enjoy it better, and I succeeded in my third attempt.

Most of this book takes place in the city of Bezim, which was very badly destroyed by an event called the Sundering. Nobody knows how this happened except for the fact that it wasn't of the Mundane. Since the event occurred, the inquisitors have been cracking down on practitioners of the art of Alchemy brutally. The hero of this story, if we can call him that, is Siyon Velo, who ran away from his family in search of a better life and joined the Bracken bravi tribe, works to make ends meet as a supplier of extrapljnar material to the higher class practitioners privileged enough to receive tutelage in the Art, while fervently wishing to be able to afford the same lessons as them one day. When he rescues his new assistant Zagiri from a fatal fall, he performs some kind of wild magic that put him on the radar, and ends up seeking refuge in the least likely of places, where he learns that the Planes of Reality are slipping out of balance, and that he might be one of the few who could keep another Sundering away.

I will be very clear here about the fact that this is not a book for all kinds of readers. I found it a little hard to follow in the first half, and I kept flipping the pages due to my fondness for some of the characters. It is now easy for me to understand why reviewers are on the fence with this one.

I am a little conflicted about the characterisation with this one. I loved Siyon, though rough around the edges. He is fair, loyal, and most of all empathetic, even to those above his station in the society, and is never afraid to admit that he messed up. There are a few other characters I enjoyed reading about, to the exception of one, who only seemed to be placed in the book for a singular purpose. Siyon, though, has my heart.

Following everything that happens in this book wasn't very straightforward. There are a lot of things happening, and it is a little chaotic and wild. Some of the constructs seemed a little repetitive to me, but then I did get the hang of things and started enjoying them about two thirds into the book. A lot of the ideas around the magic system are not handed to the reader directly, but we are expected to piece together to understand a bit of it just like Siyon is, within the pages.

This book is heavy on the themes of classism and privilege. We can clearly see the way members of the high classes are treated, compared to the risk the others take for the same actions. The good was that it was nice to see all the characters acknowledge their privilege, or lack of it, across the pages, and their status in society never affects how fairly they treat the others. At certain times though, it felt very repetitive and I had to skip a couple of paragraphs.

The highlight for me was all the craziness that occurred, and the inclusion of djinns and harpies and angels in a book I just didn't expect them to be in. And of course, though Siyon spends a lot of his time in high society, what really hit me hard at the end was that I did not really think of them as the unlikely ensemble of characters they were at the beginning, but as friends.

CONCLUSION: This is a hard book to recommend, because it will ultimately depend on the kind of reader you are. If you like stories with all kinds of things going on that you will want to work out for yourself, you will have a lot of fun. I will personally stick around to see what happens next.
 

1 comments:

Ann said...

Nice review. I will first check this book out at the library if it going to be so difficult to get into.

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Cardinal Black” by Robert McCammon!!!


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Cyber Mage” by Saad Z. Hossain


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Miss  Percy's” by Quenby Olson!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Starless Crown” by James Rollins!!!
Order HERE