Book I: Fires Within
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A boy wizard afflicted with a rare disease battles the forces of evil in this debut fantasy novel.

Feslen Raster, an adopted 14-year-old boy suffering from a rare blood disorder, is viewed as “abnormal”–by official edict, all abnormal citizens are to be kept out of sight. Only his adoptive family’s high social standing allows him to lead a somewhat normal life, though he is still the object of much public ridicule. Feslen does have a few supporters, however: his brother Duxan, his friend Ka-Wei and the aged martial-arts teacher Master Chai, who has taken the young man under his wing. Master Chai sees Feslen’s untapped potential as a powerful mage, and even suspects he may be “the One” prophesied by the ancients to save the world from impending doom, in the form of a group of evil wizards conspiring to take over the land. When Master Chai is murdered and his daughter Mei Xue kidnapped, Feslen vows to rescue her. First, though, he must corral the vast but untamed magical gifts with which he’s been blessed. Embarking on his mission with a motley crew consisting of his brother, Ka-Wei, a mysterious princess, a thief and another novice mage, Feslen encounters the usual array of monsters and spirits on a journey that becomes a coming-of-age experience–both emotionally and magically–for the young wizard. Kang’s debut certainly won’t win any points for style. But despite a derivative, predictable plot and countless mechanical issues, the author’s marriage of Eastern and Western elements in a fantasy setting is intriguingly rendered, and the empathy and love with which Fester is portrayed will keep readers interested.

A sloppy first novel that shows glimmers of promise.

Pub Date: July 7th, 2006
ISBN: 0-595-37563-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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