Days of Magic – By E. D. Miller – Published 2012
Some fantasy novels are so far fetched and unbelievable that they are never fully read through, while others affirm a reality that may have existed in times past, reminding us why we like to read good fantasy. This books falls in the second category.
It is a book about magic.
How it was discovered. How it was learned. How it was controlled. How it was taught. How it was abused. Moherron as a child, lives with his siblings and parents on Dragonroot farm in the ancient kingdom of Er. On a trip into the nearby town of Hoksknfol, Moherron hears a tale from the local story teller, Bartelby Grumpf, about the brothers black who first found magic in the land.
After the death of his older brother, and overcome with grief, wishing to save his family from further suffering, he remembers the words of the story teller and begins to chant them. This causes an awful storm and ultimately builds to a tremendous tornado that destroys his home and family. Absolutely bereft and near total exhaustion, after wandering in a daze for days, he is found by a kindly man by the name of Titus who takes him home to meet his family. After spending some time with this poor but loving family, he eventually goes to live with the local blacksmith, Alfran and his son, Krowstef. He spends time there until he has grown to be a young man. During this time he makes friends with a beautiful young woman, Rivanna who has formed a stronger friendship Krowstef.
Moherron begins to feel a void inside and knows he must go back to try to find out if the magic he used as a child really works. He must know if he is right about it or wrong. After many hair raising adventures through towns and forests, meeting many different unsavoury characters along the way and nearly losing his life, he stumbles into a cave where he discovers that the story about the brothers black was in fact true. They had worked spells of the highest order according to the information he discovered in an adjoining cave. After much frustration, this is where he discovers the secrets of magic. He spends considerable time in the cave developing spells, in fact, perfecting the art of magic. Except for a chance discovery of his cave by a passer by, he may well have remained in that cave and never returned home.
Nevertheless he does leave and after returning home and discovering that his hometown has been under attack, he decides to start a school to teach others the art of magic so that the land can be protected by magical means. Initially, the school thrives and Moherron is amazed at the talent of the young students who come to learn. However, he is careful not to divulge the deeper secrets of magic to the students, as in the wrong hands, complete devastation could be the result. All goes well until some students steal some of the magical secrets. Exactly what is stolen is unknown and while some of the villains are caught, the leader is not. This is extremely worrying to Moherron, especially after discovering the death of a student, and realizing that the land could well be in jeopardy if the guilty party is not apprehended. But the search for the culprit, Atreus, goes on for years without success and his evil deeds rock the land causing death and devastation. And so it becomes a fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil as Atreus evades capture and grows strong in black magic, attacking and destroying various towns, ultimately attacking with a huge army, the very school that originally taught him.
Is Moherron able to outwit the master of black magic and save the school and the land from the scourge of evil? Miller lets us slip into the skin of Moherron and feel his frustration as he tries in vain to understand the workings of the spells, and his tenacity as he grapples with the power and finally brings it under control. Then there is the world he creates with its untamed landscapes and fabled creatures all adding to the overall idea he is creating.
The test of a fantasy writer is whether he can satisfy the emotional cravings and imagination of his readers. “The Days of Magic” echoes the themes of classics like Raymond E Feist’s “Magician” and Lynn Kurland’s “Princess of the Sword”. And while some might say that the book has its contrived circumstances, it does bring a fresh and interesting approach to magic. Although Miller isn’t breaking any new ground, “The Days of Magic” is a welcome edition to the fantasy genre and is sure to stimulate interest in the young adult reader. One can only assume that his future work will continue to enchant his readers.
A Book Review of The Days of Magic – By E. D. Miller – Published 2012. Reviewed by Lyn Asmar the principal of the college of Esoteric Education in Brisbane Australia.