Monday, September 10, 2018

Restriction (The Rise of Magic #1), by C.M. Raymond (author), L.E. Barbant (author), Michael Anderle (author), Kate Rudd (narrator)

LMBPN Publishing, July 2017

This is the first book of a trilogy, set in the already  well-developed fictional universe of the Kurtherian Gambit, which is founded on (Arthur C.) Clarke's law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

I haven't read any of the previous Kurtherian Gambit books, so some of what I say that relates to previous events may be imprecise or just wrong.

The invention and escape into the wild of nanotechnology caused major changes in humanity, changes which allowed some people to attain powers not easily distinguishable from magic, some became vampires, ore werewolves, and others to just go completely mad and turn into cannibals. This is called The Age of Madness, and it lasted entirely too long. There was a long-ruling vampire named Michael, and faces with yet another attempt to overthrow him, he recruits Bethany Anne. She becomes, among other things, one of the major mythic figures of the world that will follow her. I think this is when humans start to get real control of the "magic" that is now inside every single human.

And all this matters because it's the background for the world Hannah, a young woman living in the "Queen Bitch Boulevard" slum area of the city of Arcadia, has grown up in.

Except one more important person came along, maybe half a century ago, roughly. Ezekial is revered as the Founder--the founder of the city of Arcadia and its school of magic. He got everything on the right path, with peace and prosperity, along with magic, breaking out all over, and then he left his best student, Adrian, in charge of the school, someone else as governor of the city, and left. Adrian turned out not to be who Ezekiel believed him to be. Arcadia is an old-fashioned, oppressive plutocracy. And unauthorized use of magic is illegal.

Hannah didn't mean to use magic; she didn't know she could. But her brother was having a seizure, and she wanted to help him--wanted to so badly that she reached into herself and tapped the magic she didn't know she had. Unfortunately, some of Adrian's Hunters were nearby, and she's quickly running for her life. Ezekiel has finally returned, and is appalled to see what has happened to Arcadia--and is in the right place at the right time to rescue Hannah.

When he understands what she's done, untrained, he recognizes her as possibly key to his hopes of restoring Arcadia. Hannah is potentially an even more powerful magician than he is.

Ezekiel, Hannah, her brother William, her friend Parker, and Ezekiel's assorted friends who are still around and haven't followed Adrian's path, are interesting and worthwhile characters. I have some serious questions about what "Earth" and certain other seemingly obvious terms mean in context in this book, but some of that may simply be not having read previous books. It is a weakness for this book as a starting point, however, and it may be more rewarding for people already at least somewhat familiar with the Kurtherian Gambit world. It's also the first book of a trilogy, and while there is somewhat of an ending, it would really be helpful to have that next book lined up.

Nevertheless, it is enjoyable.

Moreover, the narrator, Kate Rudd, is just fantastic, and added significantly to my enjoyment of the story, and even the three authors' notes at the end.

Recommended if you like high fantasy and are looking for a different take on it.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from one of the authors, and am reviewing it voluntarily.