Myths and legends have always had a special place in our heart. They carry a promise of epic rescues that are simply too strong a tease to ignore. For, who does not wish to escape for something or the other? Often, the culprit is a mundane life. The more interesting version, though, is the need to save a person/race/planet/world. Whatever the objective may be, the end result is an adventure worth diving in. After all, therein lies imagination. And Book 1 of Earth’s Magick series has it in plenty.
Imagination, I said. It is formally catalogued in a book entitled Libro Sciens - the reference guide in this story. However, like Gods, this Book of Knowing has existed in different versions in different cultures all through human history. It is curious as to how the imaginary content of such books over centuries and millennia have circled around certain common tenets. For instance, the existence of guardians, a power that lies in the four basic elements, the significance of four directions and starry symbolism, and above all, the linguistic charm of old. We shall come to that in a bit. First, it is safe to say that Mel Massey handles these ingredients well. Mystery must mystify. The journey of protagonist – Mela – through revelations of hidden power, purpose and play introduce us to angels and demons very nearly in our backyard. However, the central motive - to find and save the angelic “sisters” - is eventually put into question. Mel saves the true villain, “the Darkness,” for now. Clearly, it is something the author is confident enough of beating all our presumptions about, until she decides to reveal him/her/it. Nonetheless, her world remains cozy and adventurous at the same time.
That brings us to the source of coziness the book lends to a reader. It is the language, among other things. And there is much to be said about that in a larger sense. The spells in the book continue to abide by conventional phrases such as, “Guardians of the Watchtower of the North, Powers of the Earth and the Dark Maiden, I invoke thee.” Time and again, we envision calling to the Great Powers of beyond using verbal and symbolic communication vis-à-vis light a candle, draw a pattern and utter a prose. However, there seems to be a growing trend of fusing mythical narratives with contemporary linguistic styles. So a magical un-cursing with “I unbind you” is followed by a spat of “You’ve got to be bloody kidding me!” And there’s more. One of the key turning points in the book comes by amidst a legendary fight immediately after Mela’s date night with a friend. Then again, the scene ends with an almost flirtatious tease by none other than her magical attacker.
Allow me to digress a bit. Do the above trends hint at our increasingly casual acknowledgement of difficulties in life? Do they hint at how our species has been acclimatized under an aggressive and unrelenting media exposure of sensationalism or controversies over the last century? Or is it just a subtle form of evolution? Whatever it is, the part-slang-part-prayer approach is fast emerging as the language, and concept, that audience today identifies with, or is expected to. If it is so, it may be both valid and effective, for Gods or Demons shall enjoy no consideration or following unless described in a language we understand.
The epilogue in the story reminds us that the epic tale has only lasted a summer. Such tales mark the maturing of story’s protagonist. What we witness then is not climax but the readying of a hero who is to stand up when judgement day arrives. That is what makes these preparatory tales so exciting. Can we expect Book 2 of Earth’s Magick Series to do justice to the build up? In the author’s words, “So mote it be.”
Book Review by The Fly
About the Author:
Mel Massey is a novelist and the author of the Earth's Magick series. She has studied Cultural Anthropology and the History of Religion. Her husband serves in the U.S. Army and she is the mother of two adorable monsters. She spends most of her time talking to her imaginary friends.
Visit www.melmassey.com for more information
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