I figured since I binge-read the whole series, I might as well just put up all the reviews in this post! :) I'll hide the second and third behind the read more so you don't get spoilers, if you don't want them.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Auric Spellsmith comes home from the city to find his expected place at his father's business filled by a terrible upstart of a carpenter, Jericho Carver. Jericho just knows that whatever future he thought he had as a magician apprentice is over now that Master Hedward Spellsmith's son is back. But when Hedward Spellsmith disappears and Fey Magic threatens the human world, Auric and Jericho must learn to work together - or lose everyone and everything they hold dear.
Magicians' Rivalry is a fun, engaging, and quick read! The rivalry between the two men is hilarious and poor Rill Spellsmith, Auric's younger sister, is caught trying to placate all the easily riled, arrogant, posturing men in her life - while trying to learn magic without her father's knowledge.
About that - Hedward Spellsmith comes across at first as a misogynic old man but as the story unfolds and his past comes to light, you learn that he is anything but - it's just that he is a terrible communicator and refuses to explain why he's doing the things he's doing...until it's too late.
The one thing that felt a little off was how quickly Auric claims Jericho as his best friend. I mean, well Jericho did save him a few times in the Fey lands...but does that naturally make them best friends? idk.
Anyway, I'm just here for the proud, self-sacrificing idiots who keep landing themselves into trouble because they won't actually talk to each other or admit that they need help. Oh, and of course for Jaspyr, the magical clockwork fox.
Before we get to the rest, Magician's Gift (Spellsmith &
Carver 3.5) is free for a couple of days.
It's a short story that'll give you a preview of the main characters if you're still ambivalent! However, it's set at the end of the series, so might include some relationship-type spoilers if you're fussy about that.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As it says in the description, Auric Spellsmith and Jericho Carver have saved the world in Magicians' Rivalry. Now their good deeds have come to haunt them. Auric, Jericho, and Rill head to the city to try to defend their case and get Hedward off the hook, but it's proving harder than they expect.
Well, if you loved the dynamics between Auric, Jericho, and Rill in the first book, it only gets better here. In this one, Auric tries his best to present himself as an experienced city boy, but ends up proving to Jericho how gullible he actually is - especially when it comes to the guy he used to call his best friend. But Jericho, his new best friend, has his back - after all, they're now family. Jericho uses his stodgy, small-town carpenter ethics and demeanour to its best effect, hiding in plain sight and being underestimated by the slick city magicians. And they have another secret weapon - Rill, who is coming into her own as a terrific magician herself.
Of course, you need a little love in an H.L. Burke book, so Lotta, slightly awkward engineer, captures Auric's eye - and maybe provides the solution they all need to this thorny magical problem.
Overall, Magicians' Trial is a fast-paced adventure, pitting wits against greed.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ooof, this was the darkest of the three, and the most heart-wrenching.
There's a mysterious Fey creature kidnapping children in the next town and now they've set their sights on the Spellsmith family. Can Spellsmith and Carver deal with the troubles ahead? Do they know each other well enough to be able to keep their family together and tell the truths from the lies? And what of Lotta, who's hopefully going to join them - but isn't quite part of the team yet?
Magicians' Reckoning is filled with loss - starting with the loss of Hedward, then spiralling as this Fey creature slowly breaks apart the relationships that bind them. Starting with putting a wedge between their best team: Jericho and Rill. While in Magicians' Trial the two men managed to work pretty well together, in this one, the self-sacrificing idiots are at it again. Jericho is reeling at his own actions, Auric is angry and confused, and Rill is trapped. And Lotta, trying to make sense of it all, is who she is: awkwardly practical amidst all the angst.
I'm all here for the snark and the wit and the floundering men, but this one goes deeper, setting up deeper emotional stakes - and harsher physical stakes too. The story starts with loss - and if they don't find and catch this Fey creature, it will end up with loss too. No matter what they do, there's a possibility that someone will die. And Spellsmith and Carver will have to choose who.
As a third in the series, it's a fitting end. Amidst all the excitement and magical battles and adventure...this one will tug at your heartstrings.
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