Monday, July 14, 2014

Wings of Wrath (Magister Trilogy #2) by C.S. Friedman

Mulluane | 1:00 PM | 2 Comments so far

In a world where spells are fueled by the essence of one’s own life, the young peasant woman Kamala has proven strong and determined enough to claim the most powerful sorcery for her own. But her rise to power is not without cost. The shadowy brotherhood of Magisters now hunts her for killing one of their kind, and her only hope of survival may lie in fleeing to the northern Protectorates, where spells are warped by a curse called the Wrath and the shadow of an ancient Enemy is once more falling across the land. Joining company with the Guardian Rhys, she will soon discover the true origin of the Wrath, and learn of an ancient artifact that might awaken the northern bloodlines to their true potential…if it does not drive them mad first.

For an ancient Enemy has indeed returned to the civilized lands — a creature said to feed upon the souls of men — and its human agents are already hard at work. In the High Kingdom, where the monk Salvator Aurelius has just claimed his father’s throne, the unity of a great empire is about to be tested…along with its ruler’s faith. In the halls of Kierdwyn, the terrible truth at the heart of the Guardians’ mission is about to be revealed. And in warm southern climes of Sankara, the woman called Witch-Queen is about to receive an offer she dares not refuse: true immortality, and with it revenge upon the Magisters who used and abandoned her. But acceptance will require that she become something other than human, and agree to serve those who pave the way for the souleaters’ return.

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Wings of Wrath (Magister Trilogy #2) by C.S. Friedman
| Author: C. S. Friedman
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Witchcraft, Sorcery, Dark Magic
| ISBN-10: 0756405947
| ISBN-13: 9780756405946
| Publisher: DAW; Reprint edition (February 2, 2010)
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Cover Artist: John Jude Palencar
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Wings of Wrath (The Magister Trilogy, #2)

♦ Mini Review ♦
There is a certain beauty to an Epic Fantasy when things go from bad to worse. Especially when you don't really believe such a thing is possible. No subject is taboo. Moral dilemmas are explored in exacting detail and nobody is safe from scrutiny. 

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane

♦ What I Liked. This story is incredibly proficient at making me long for answers while being very afraid I'm not going to like them. And to make matters worse? When I do get answers they lead to... yep, you guessed it. More questions! It is a good thing that I'm a lady on the outside because if anybody could hear the profanity the inside of my brain is spewing, they sure wouldn't think so.

There is every type character imaginable in this story. Evil, arrogant, immoral, heroic, tragic, complacent, greedy, generous, pious and power-hungry. The "bad" guys show glimpses of compassion, the "good" guys show moments of poor judgement. Even those evil soul-eating dragons aren't all evil. They are simply beasts following their natures. They aren't the cruel ones here. Dangerous yes. Intentionally, no. I even felt so sorry for one that I almost cried. It is their keepers who are the evil ones. And yet... Even those have understandable motives.

Note: Understanding and agreeing with motives or actions is not the same thing. However I love it when things/people are not evil only for evil's sake. Instead, they just make horrible choices in their quest for survival or even revenge.

♦ What I didn't like. One of the main characters is a monk turned king. Now he is every bit as complicated a character as all the rest, but some aspects of his story didn't ring true. First of all, his religion believes that by doing penance for the "evils" of the world, they will placate the "god" so he never releases the soul-eating dragons on mankind again. A practice that obviously failed. Secondly, when it is discovered that a long held belief (prejudice) against a certain race on this world was completely false, they simply changed their doctrine. Meanwhile the monk turned king just takes all this on the chin with barely a murmur of protest.

Now here is my problem. History has shown us, and shown us often, that religions do not change their inherent beliefs without a fight. It is not unusual for this to result in a debate that takes centuries to resolve. They do not however just rewrite doctrine. To make matters worse, our monk turned king seems to waver between the tenants of his beliefs and his duties as king, depending on his mood or the necessities of the plot. If the story requires him to throw his beliefs out the window, he does so without hesitation. He may offer up some token of remorse, but it is just that, a token. It has no believable meaning. He swears certain things will not take place, then allows them to continue with his full knowledge and non interference. The word hypocrite comes to mind.

♦ My Thoughts. For the most part, I think the handling of religion is done very well. There are multiple "crisis of faith" instances that were very believable. It is only when it came to the monk turned king that I suffered my own crisis of belief. I didn't expect the marriage of the two to be easy. Far from it. But I think I expected the transition from devout monk of a penance based religion to supreme ruler to exhibit more angst and less capitulation.

However, this was far, far from a deal breaker. Could be very possible that this is all by a design I just don't see the why of it yet. Could go the other way too. It may not mean anything in the long run. I'll just have to wait and see.

♦ Conclusion. No second book syndrome here. I'm beginning to think that authors have listened to us reviewers/readers and made a concerted effort to keep the action and pace high throughout the series. The character development is off the charts. The worldbuilding is exquisite and oh so dark. The twists, turns and complete reversals will keep you on your toes. If the third book follows suit, I have a feeling the end will surprise the heck out of me. We'll just have to wait and see!

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Series Summary ~ Feast of Souls #1 ~ Legacy of Kings #3

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything 3.76/5

Amazon: 4.2/5
(39 customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Wings of Wrath: Book Two of the Magister Trilogy

Audible: Yes

Buy Book: Books-A-Million ~ AbeBooks

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Already read the book? Please share your own opinion!

Epic Fantasy Review of Wings of Wrath (Magister Trilogy #2) by C.S. Friedman
Reviewed by Mulluane on July 14 2014
Rating: 5 of 5

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. Nice review. As for the Pentinent king, you can forgive him, I think. In history, how many monks have to decide between their faith and a crown.

    1. True but he was too good at qualifying his choices. "Oh well, I don't like it much but it is for the good of the realm" was trotting out as a catch all excuse too many times for my liking. Was a minor thing and fits in with a major gripe I have in RL with people in power and how they give up their own beliefs and even morals if it means keeping that power.


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