Friday, June 29, 2012

The Way of the Black Beast by Stuart Jaffe: MY REVIEW

The Way of the Black Beast Malja wants answers. She wants to know why the two most powerful magicians in all of Corlin ripped her from her mother's arms, raised her only to fight, and then tossed her away to die at age ten. She wants to know why they are trying to recreate the spells which caused the Devastation that wiped out most of the world's population, leaving behind skeletal cities and abandoned technology. And she wants to kill them.

With Tommy, an orphan bearing the tattoos of a sorcerer, she crosses this shattered land. Despite the challenges they face -- crazed magicians, guitar-playing assassins, mutated beasts -- Malja pursues her vengeance with a single-mindedness that may destroy all she holds dear, forcing her to make a terrible choice between the family she lost and the one she has built.

My Rating 3.5 stars

As an infant, Maija is torn from her mother’s arms and thrust into the guardianship of two brothers. The brothers, both powerful magicians with an unusual type of shared magic, quickly became disappointed when, as a young child, Maija fails every test they force upon her, and continuously rebels against their tyranny. Maija is then abandoned; left for dead at an early age. Unknown to Jarik and Callib, Maija somehow survives and is later rescued and adopted by a kind-hearted man named Gregor.

As the years pass Jarik and Callib became ever more powerful and god-like. Bound together by their magic, the brothers’ sphere of influence and control continues to expand. However, several years pass and the magicians learn that Maija actually survives and prospers. They dispatch assassins who kill Gregor. Now, Maija is more determined than ever to track down the evil brothers and exact vengeance for her beloved guardian’s untimely, horrific death. Thus the story begins as Maija sets upon her blood quest, following clues, building alliances, and earning the loyalty of new friends and strange denizens.

An enjoyable read that kept me entertained and guessing, this story unfolded with multiple twists and unexpected moments. I loved the flow and musicality of the descriptive phrases. Maija evolves, and we learn more about her background as the narrative progresses. Indeed, most of the characters, including the brothers, become more complex as their motivations and fears are uncovered. By the end, the reader ultimately recognizes the black beast for exactly what it is.

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

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