Into the Dreaming Imaginative Fiction from Author, Reviewer, and Writing Coach Christine Amsden

Tag Archives: Magic

Free Ebook Today Only!!!

It’s Read an Ebook Week, and that means free books! Twilight Times is offering Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, the first book in the Cassie Scot Quartet, completely free for one day only! No catch! Just click the link to the file type you need …

Download Cassie Scot in .mobi (kindle friendly) format

Download Cassie Scot in .epub format

Open Cassie Scot in .pdf format

If you like the book, don’t forget to check out the other books in the series …

 

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Netflix Original: The Magicians (Season 1)

Short review: Never mind, my feelings are too complicated for a short review.

Long review:

I didn’t like this show at first. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why I watched past the first few episodes. My husband suggested that the show had a good premise and, much like with Charmed or Heroes, I kept watching in hopes of seeing that premise fulfilled. Maybe. But in the meantime I found myself hating most of the main characters and feeling a definite drag to the first half or more of the 13 episodes, waiting for something truly impressive to happen.

I didn’t really start to like the show until about episode 9 (give or take … they’re all blurring together). But something strange happened: I didn’t just start to like the show at that point, I started to REALLY like the show. By the second to last episode I was in love and the finale had me desperate for season 2. Actually, it ended in a really mean place and I want to strangle someone but … never mind. Let’s talk premise.

So, magic school for grad students. It takes the classic magic school concept and grows it up a bit. It was nice to see that magic school is okay to do again now … Harry Potter put a stranglehold on the idea for a long time, convincing writers and fans alike that anything involving magic school had to be derivative of Harry Potter. But Rowling did not invent the concept and there is much, much more to do with it. Like do it with 22-year-olds instead of 12-year-olds.

My first impression was that the show’s creators did this grown up version of magic school so the characters could have lots of sex and I was frankly annoyed by it. And I’m still not convinced that the gratuitous sex was necessary, but I did begin to understand it better as the season wore on. It’s … complicated. I’d really love for someone else to watch this show so I can discuss it, honestly!

But in the end, I realized that the grown up version of magic school was more adult than just the sex. Magic was really dangerous. People really died. A series of children’s books really happened … sort of. They were rather watered down for the kids. The books became symbolic of leaving behind childish magical ideas.

The characters, too, became more sympathetic as the season wore on and we began to understand the better. Every character has a story, and a reason for their behavior. Unfortunately, this does come across initially as very middle school behavior, which enhanced my impression of the shows’ creators as only wanting an excuse to have the characters be very sexual. I sometimes forget that middle school is, after all, a sort of super condensed version of real life and that adults are capable of cattiness and nastiness too. Once the characters developed, I still didn’t love many of them, but I understood.

A few things that I really respected the show for:

1. Not taking the easy way out.
2. Surprising me … more than once.
3. Using our expectations and preconceived notions against us. You could also say that it took some tropes and flipped them around, so that at first you get the impression that you’ve seen this show before and it’s not going to do anything new. Then you realize you’re wrong.
4. An episode containing depictions of suicide ended with a screen showing the phone number for the national suicide prevention phone number.Similarly, an episode containing sexual assault ended with a support line for victims.

Complaints:

1. The world building is weak, even at the end of the season.
2. The passage of time was difficult to follow.
3. It took too long to develop the depth that ultimately made it good.

In conclusion: If you watch this show, know you need to stick with it. Have patience. If you love fantasy, you’ll enjoy this.

Book Review: The Night Drifter

The Night Drifter (St. Leger, #2)
In this second book of the St. Leger series, the bridefinder presents Lance St. Leger with his destined bride, a fanciful lover of Arthurian legends who first meets Lance while he’s night drifting — leaving his body behind at night to wander the earth. She mistakes him for Sir Lancelot and his lost sword for Excalibur.

This premise was awkward. Rosaline falls in love with Sir Lancelot, but dislikes Lance on sight. I had trouble buying this. And when I did manage to suspend disbelief I found Rosalind to be hopelessly silly. I wasn’t even sure I understood why she took such a dislike to Lance. She heard some rumors… didn’t even try to get to know him.

Moreover, Lance’s reasons for being angsty were thin. He did something stupid when he was 18 and has been beating himself up about it ever since. If all 18-year-olds who did stupid things responded that way… well…

I continued to enjoy the subtle magic against the backdrop of a Regency setting. I am very interested in reading about Lance’s twin brother, Valentine, in the final St. Leger volume.

I recommend this book if you read and enjoyed The Bridefinder.

Rating: 3/5

Title: The Night Drifter
Author: Susan Carroll
ISBN: 0449005852
Published February 1, 2000

Buy Night Drifter on Amazon Kindle

Book Review: The Bride Finder

39097The St. Ledgers are all possessed of strange magical powers. Anatole moves things with his mind and sees visions of the future — visions that warn him against a red-haired woman. But when he sends the family bride finder for his intended bride, with a detailed list of what he needed, he is presented with a red-haired woman who seems to be the opposite of everything he wants. Yet this, the bride finder assures him, is the woman he is destined to marry.

I loved the magic of this story, seamlessly interwoven with historical England. The myths and legends came to life as Anatole and Madeleine came together — from curses to visions to ghosts to family enemies who should have been dead.

Anatole was angsty — a bit too angsty for my tastes at the beginning although as the story unfolded we saw the reasons. His mother never should have married his father — she was the wrong woman, not chosen by a bride finder, and in the end she rejected her own son. Anatole sought the love he never received from his parents in Madeleine, but he had idea how to love and ended up keeping her at arm’s length by keeping secrets from her.

My only real complaint here is that I felt Madeleine was a flat character. She came across more as an idea than a real woman, and it hurt the romance.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. I intend to look for more books by this author. I recommend to paranormal romance lovers.

Rating: 4/5

Title: The Bride Finder

Author: Susan Carroll

Published Published January 30th 1999

ISBN: 0449003884

Buy The Bride Finder on Amazon

Cassie Scot in Living Color

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The outfit you see Cassie wearing on the cover is one I suggested to the artist. I found it on Nordstrom’s website, and knew it was the sort of thing Cassie would choose to wear — stylish and colorful. (The artist changed the color to better suit the picture.)

In the book, Cassie says she dresses “in living color.” She avoids black like the plague and thinks the color washes some people out.

At the risk of offending millions of black-clad Americans, I agree with her. 🙂

I used to wear black all the time (see my author photo). It’s not even a terrible color on me, although I prefer brighter, bolder, and more vivid colors now. Then a few years ago, just before I started writing about Cassie, I realized I was making a mistake. I was wearing black for all the wrong reasons:

Black is flattering. Black makes you look thinner. Black is classic. Black looks good on everyone…

I was hiding behind it! That’s no reason to embrace a particular style.

Personal style is just that of course — personal. But I don’t think I was choosing a style so much as accepting it as my lot in life. 🙂

This new self-discovery got transferred to the character I was working on at the time, hence Cassie and color. She paints her room black. But the reason for that is more a book two revelation. 🙂