MYSTIC by Jason Denzel


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The founder of a popular fan website for the bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series takes his own stab at the genre.

Commoner Pomella AnDone has always felt drawn to the Myst, the magical energy that infuses the world. But only nobles are allowed to become masters of the Myst—that is, until this latest Springrise, when High Mystic Yarina Sineese selects Pomella to join the competition to become her apprentice. Before Pomella can defeat her fellow candidates in magic, however, she must survive the potentially deadly resentment of the nobles. Meanwhile, Sim, the sweetheart she tried to leave behind, becomes captive to a vicious mercenary band that has its own plans for determining the outcome of the Mystic contest. For decades, the fantasy genre has been littered with tales of plucky young women who defy their gender and/or their stations to express their extraordinary (artistic, magical, martial) talent; some have stood the test of time, while most have had their brief moment before vanishing into deserved obscurity. Sadly, this tired example of the type seems destined for the latter fate. Perhaps teens new to the genre will discover something of value, but more seasoned readers will find little that’s fresh in this thin, practically recycled, effort. If Denzel wishes to break from the pack in future efforts, he will need to learn that worldbuilding means more than casually misspelling a few common words ("mhathir" and "fathir" for "mother" and "father") or simply making up new ones with no real explanation (both Sim and Pomella compare themselves to a “luck’n” several times throughout the story, but we never actually find out what a luck'n is—presumably an animal of some kind?). Let’s not even discuss the attempts at poetry.

The best that one can say of this hackneyed, amateurish effort is that it lacks the bloat of many of its compatriots and is soon over.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7653-8197-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2015


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