Trials of Magic
by Thomas K. Carpenter
There are exactly one hundred halls of magic to choose from. Ever since our parents were killed I knew exactly which hall was for me.
Aurelia “Aurie” Silverthorne is one of the best and brightest to ever apply to the Hundred Halls, the only magical university in the world. To be accepted, she must pass grueling trials that claim the lives of aspirants every year.
But more than her desire to practice magic is at stake.
Aurie’s little sister has been courting powerful forces in hopes of protecting herself from the beings that killed their parents, but alliances come with complications. As things spiral out of control, and dangerous foes arise at every turn, Aurie knows the only way to protect her sister is to pass the trials—even if it means making a terrible sacrifice.
~ THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS ~
Does the book engage you?
Yes. It felt like a mashup of Harry Potter and Hunger Games. Which is intriguing in itself. The beauty of this story is it centres around two sisters and how they each individually react after the death of their parents and the impact it played on the person they have become.
Are the characters convincing? Do they come alive for you? How would you describe them — as sympathetic, likeable, thoughtful, intelligent, innocent, naive, strong or weak? Something else?
The sisters are a combination of all of above depending on the situation they’re in. Aurie’s little sister PI could be thought at innocent and naive especially with the deadly decisions that she’s making in order to protect herself and her sister. The same could be said of Aurie she’s so focused on the end goal that when things don’t go to plan she doesn’t know what to do.
Do you identify with any characters? Are you able to look at events in the book through their eyes—even if you don’t like or approve of them? Do they remind you of people in your own life? Or yourself?
I loved Aurie’s and PI’s determination to make the best out of a terrible situation, not to allow what other’s think to stop them from achieving what they wanted to achieve. I wish I had that type of character. They’re extremely brave. It’s a difficult thing to stand up for what you believe in.
Are characters developed psychologically and emotionally? Do you have access to their inner thoughts and motivations? Or do you know them mostly through dialogue and action?
It’s another combination here.
One of the trials is to accept “THE TRUTH” sounds ominous. You’d think this would be an easy challenge but it’s actually extremely difficult.
“Truth is a multifaceted thing. What I hope for most students is that they at least accept the possibility that they will never know and to get over the pain that it caused. But to turn that wavering mirage into a forceful plan of action and adhere to it despite the unpleasant consequence is sign of uncommon courage. You passing in ways that I cannot even describe.”
– The Professor, Trials of Magic
Do any characters change or grow by the end of the story? Do they come to view the world and their relationship to it differently?
They had to grow or their life would be taken over. The path they were on would have led them to great pain then the pain they had already suffered.
Is the story plot-driven, moving briskly from event to event? Or is it character-driven, moving more slowly, delving into characters’ inner-lives?
To story evolved briskly moving from event to event with a sprinkling of character-driven movement.
What is the story’s central conflict—character vs. character…vs. society…or vs. nature (external)? Or an emotional struggle within the character (internal)? How does the conflict create tension?
For me the central conflict was the sisters trying to improve themselves. Get them both away from the dark situation they found themselves after the death of their parents. With no outstanding support and nearly everyone rooting for them to fail do to their parentage. There are a lot of magical snobs in this book!
Is the plot chronological? Or does it veer back and forth between past and present?
We see snippets of the past without any real details, it’s always from Aurie’s perspective and her interpretation of the events that happened when she was a small child. Her guilt could be clouding the actual events.
Is the ending a surprise or predictable? Does the end unfold naturally? Or is it forced, heavy-handed, or manipulative? Is the ending satisfying, or would you prefer a different ending?
I personally found the ending surprising, it could have been a predictable ending but the author kept you guessing right to the very end. Would the sisters succeed? Would they both survive? It’s a real page turner!
Point of View
Who tells the story—a character (1st-person narrator)? What does the narrator know? Is the narrator privy to the inner-life of one or more of the characters…or none? What does the narrator let you know?
Its told by a 3rd-person narrator, who lets you in on a few things about the characters. We see some of the characters inner-life thoughts.
What about theme—the larger meanings behind the work? What ideas does the author explore? What is he or she trying to say?
It’s a “Paranormal Urban Fantasy” and I’m making an assumption from what I read that the author is trying to get across about sisterly love and doing the right thing even if its difficult.
Symbols intensify meaning. Can you identify any in the book—people, actions or objects that stand for something greater than themselves?
Aurie’s need to help the sick, is a driving force and shows a wealth of her character. While may of us would like to think we’d put others first when it came down to it would we? Would you put you life at risk to save someone else? It’s very thought-provoking.
What about irony—a different outcome, or reality, than expected. Irony mimics real life: the opposite happens from what we desire or intend…unintended consequences.
Oh…the irony?! That has to be Aurie & PI school decision. Aurie has it planned down to the very last-minute and then life happened and she nearly missed out on entering the “Trials” while PI has a move laid back approach and actually succeeded.
“Hogwarts Meets Hunger Games”