MAGIC AND GOLDFIRE by Clare Rushing – a review


(Thank you to BookSirens! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review of Magic and Goldfire voluntarily.)


A knight of the sunny court of the south and a royal physician’s apprentice of the cold court of the north join forces as they travel from one kingdom to the other on a diplomatic mission that turns out to be something completely different. That makes their journey so much more important and urgent. Those two young girls play a role they don’t even realize the full impact of, but they have to fight for and through it. Diplomacy, court scheming, usurpers, lies, magic, gods, and destiny, are all thrown at them to deal with as best as they can, and at the same time, they try to figure out their place in this world.

Rainy season and falling leaves call for mythology reading, so a lot of my book choices revolved around that. That’s what drew me to this book. Contrasting silver and gold, fire and ice, and the sun and the moon is how I see the world. The energy that’s in those opposites. That’s the vibe this book gave me. Reading the first part of it, I was reminded of other books I read and adored and I was thinking this book can go on the same shelf as The Bear and the Nightingale and Uprooted. Later it sort of strayed away from that. The beginning was very promising, and I enjoyed it, but I have to say that I also reached a point in the middle of the book where I almost gave it up, because it felt like it was being dragged and the story followed one linear path, from point A to point B, from B to C, but in a way that it didn’t create much space for anticipation. It was just one ”checkpoint” after another as the characters – and we with them – make the journey from one kingdom to the other. Some other elements, like the appearance of some places and characters, didn’t make much sense. It failed to deliver any purpose to the plot or connect the storylines. Other questions, like the magic system, weren’t explained properly in my opinion, but I’m happy to hear that there will be more to this story as this is the first book in The Midenvalle Saga, so there’s more space to develop that. Maybe the other elements, like the mentioned places and characters, will also be more explored, maybe through some flashbacks? I can see that happening.

Whenever I have some issues with the book (that are not huge and objectively problematic issues, but just some minor ones, like with this one), I feel bad about it, because my opinion can affect someone’s choice to read it. I always feel like I’m being too harsh, but I really can’t put this book in the same category as the books that took my breath away.

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