Book: De Klauw (Magycker 1) by Adrian Stone
Release Date: April 18th 2016
Rating: 3,5 out of 5 stars
Possible spoilers for the first book in the series
Al eeuwenlang hebben de Magyckers van het eiland Aimerey een monopolie op magie in de wereld. Wie goed betaalt kan bijna elke spreuk kopen die hij wil. Maar de spreuken zijn vaak maar van tijdelijke duur, en voordat een Magycker zijn spreuk kan herhalen wordt het weer uit zijn geheugen gewist. Alleen de allerrijksten kunnen dus genieten van de giften van de Magyckers.
Als een delegatie uit Aimerey de stad van Marit en haar autistische broertje Auric aandoet, kunnen ze dat daarom bijna niet geloven. De grote rotsblokken die de enige toegang tot de stad versperren zijn weliswaar een financiële domper voor de handel, maar niemand had gedacht dat het bestuur de Magyckers zou betalen om ze te laten weghalen.
Als iemand vervolgens de spreuk van de Magyckers herhaalt, breekt de hel los. Vrij gebruik van een spreuk brengt het hele bestaan van Aimerey in gevaar, en dat zullen de Magyckers koste wat kost voorkomen.Maar laat nou net Auric degene zijn die de spreuk kan herhalen…
English Synopsis (loosely translated)
For centuries the Magyckers from the island Aimery have a monopoly on the magic in the world. Those who have money, can pay any spell they want. But the spells are often temporarily, and before a Magycker can repeat a spell it is removed from his memory. Only the very rich can enjoy the gifts of the Magycker.
When an Aimery delegation comes to the town Marit and her autistic brother Auric live in, they hardly can believe it. The big rocks that block the only way to the town is a financial letdown to the trade but nobody believed that the King would pay the Magyckers to have them removed.
When someone is able to repeat the spell by the Magcykers, chaos breaks out. Free use of a spell breaks the monopoly of Aimery, and the Magyckers will do whatever it takes to stop that. When Marit discovers it is her brother that can repeat the spell, their life becomes just a bit harder.
A fantasy book with a dragon on the cover by a Dutch author? And an autistic character? Clearly I needed this. It certainly is a solid start to a series. But it remains very straightforward and uncomplicated. I needed more depth.
This book wants to create a big world but I feel that there is very little that actually fleshes it out. I have very little idea of how far things are from each other. Luckily there is a map, but that even has places that are barely mentioned in this first book. We only really get to know how life is in Oftenooi where we start. There are a few hints at how life is for specific groups of people on Aimery but that isn’t quite deepened out to really have a proper idea of the general life at the island. I can’t quite see a culture. There is a religion, but again that isn’t entirely deepened out. But as this is a series I have good hope that this will be rectified in the next book.
One thing that I found a bit problematic is how at the end Eamon refers to the tribes on Vugol as uncivilized. I personally felt a bit uncomfortable by this. However at other points in the story I did not get the idea when they referred to Vugol so I have hope that this will also be deepened out.
Regardless I did enjoy reading this. I love that there are dragons, but some of the things happening to them makes me want to cry for them. Poor dragons. Let me cuddle you. There are political tensions that are weaving underneath that I enjoyed seeing. Everyone is trying to best the Magyckers and they deserve it. And there are a sort of rebel pirates and I am all in for that!
The plot is in parts predictable like Marit’s memory or the betrayal. But not everything is easily guessed, mostly where some things are going to lead them. Marit is also a strong character and isn’t afraid to stand up for her and her brothers’s rights. She also has a bullshit detector so that makes it that she calls some things out. I enjoyed reading from her point of view. I did think that Eamon’s draw to Marit was rather flimsy. As a character he was an interesting addition to follow.
One of the reasons I really wanted to read this book was Auric. He is autistic (though this is only mentioned like this in the synopsis and not in the actual story). I am happy to see more diversity in this manner. But I wonder about the representation and I wonder how autistic people feel about this representation. Auric has a big fat stamp of problem on his forehead throughout this book. Everything he does is deemed as problematic behavior and him as not normal. Even Marit falls into this from time to time. There are some positive things mentioned in passing like how protective he is of his pet or how good his math is, but mostly I feel he is depicted a bit negatively. I think this could have been evened out more if we had gotten his point of view. And even without this I would have loved to have gotten his point of view.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying this is not realistic because it is. Society tends to find autistic kids/people difficult or a big problem from what I have seen of my own experience from working with autistic kids and people. I guess I had just hoped that Marit would have called it out more often. I am curious to see how his characterization will be throughout the rest of the series.
(I struggle to find the words to express what I want to say in the diversity dialogue sometimes so if I have said anything offensive, please say so. I am here to learn.)