At least, that's the impression this latest ebook gave me. Magic was logical, followed specific rules, and even seemed to fit within the laws of science.
In a word, refreshing.
Chosen is the first installment of the Elm Stone Saga, an urban fantasy series written by Shayla Morgansen.
So what's it about?
The White Elm Council has governed over those with magical powers for centuries. Their rule has been a peaceful one, leading its people toward the light side of magic, forbidding the practice of the dark. Now, they're taking it a step further. They've decided to open an academy to train young sorcerers and sorceresses to fulfill their magical potential. Those with the right qualifications will have the possibility of apprenticing with one of the councilmembers, meaning that one day, those individuals may become part of the White Elm Council, as well.
It's a great opportunity, and when the Council Scrier, Qasim, offers Aristea the chance to become an academy student, she wholeheartedly accepts. She has always dreamed of becoming a scrier, even though she has never once been able to scry... well, anything.
Things don't go quite as she expects them to once she begins her studies, though. One night, she breaks magical law (unintentionally, of course), and considers herself lucky that all she got was three weeks of detention with the headmaster, a man with a dark and mysterious past. There's something familiar about him, though she's never before seen him...
In Morgansen's world, magic exists alongside modern technology. Only those with magical talent, however, know about it. They use their power for Good, rather than Evil.
Or, at least, most of them do.
A former member of the White Elm Council, Lisandro, has gone rogue and manipulated two other councilmembers into following him. His plan? To create a new governing structure with himself at the helm. Cruel and driven, Lisandro will do anything to make this happen. Murder is an acceptable option.
Naturally, Aristea finds herself caught up in this power struggle.
And her personality?
She's complex and real. She wants to do something. Something big. Something important. Yet... she doesn't believe in herself. Overcoming self-doubt is a theme throughout this novel, and Aristea's struggle is one that we've all faced at some point in our lives.
Morgansen makes us believe in Aristea. We believe in her magical potential, her intellectual potential, and especially, we believe in her heart. We know she'll be great. We know that her heart is always in the right place...
But she doesn't.
And that makes her real.
And while we're on the subject of reality...
Morgansen does a spectacular job of making magic itself appear real. It seems quite clear that she has a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge that she draws from to make this happen. Whether she has a background in science, or not, that I don't know.
But she clearly understands scientific processes and theories.
We see this in the instructors of the White Elm Academy. The reader is privy to bits and pieces of lecture that feel very much like real classroom lectures... though more interesting because, well... magic!
Morgansen explains simple concepts, such as the idea that magic cannot be created or destroyed. Merely borrowed, modified. Sound familiar?
Throughout the ebook, in fact, she draws on science in order to create magic, lending it credibility. It was something I found exciting, as well as engaging. She spends a lot of time on theory, rather than trying to impress the reader with awesome spells.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those... but they wouldn't have been nearly as impressive without the theoretical lectures and explanations of the processes involved.
They are what made the magic so true.
Those theories and processes made it feel as though the reader could perform magic... if only we had that talent.
This ebook was wonderfully engaging, and I highly recommend it. Morgansen has a great ability to bring fiction to life.
Chosen can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, as well as Scribd.