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Spellbreaker, by Blake Charlton

Review copy provided by Tor Books.

I know that there are readers who don’t like series to be indefinite, and this one is not. This is, technically, the third in its trilogy: series over! For those who want to wait and be sure that a trilogy is not five books, eight, twelve: it is not. Go ahead. But I also feel that Spellbreaker stands on its own quite well. You may want to go read Spellwright and Spellbound after having read it, but “after” is a perfectly good time to do so.

So what have we got here? We’ve got a world in which text is really, really crucial to magic–and in which learning disabilities as both advantage and disadvantage in that system have been clearly thought through. We’ve got an author with medical training who is using it in the books a lot. We’ve got gods that can aggregate, so you can stick humans together with more than one god at once, with each god having demands to make on the system. We’ve got an archipelago system–ships and kayaks galore, hardly a horse to be seen. Traders and shark gods, yes. Tough Guide to Fantasyland travelers making stew, hardly.

This is an adventure fantasy on multiple levels. Empire, interpersonal, intrapersonal, autoimmune. On some levels it’s “if you want a one of those, it’s a one of those.” On others–I can’t really think of another one of those that works quite like this one. People who are made partly of texts, partly of gods, partly of dragons…there’s a lot of stuff going on here, and it goes by pretty fast. There’s not something for everyone. But there’s something for quite a few people.

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