Review: Center of Magic by J.S. Fields

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Source Series Book One
Publisher: Self-Published (I think)
Publication Date: October 15th, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Review copy from the author
Pages: 272
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Summary (from Goodreads):

Thirty years ago a spell was cast that exploded the magic in those who wielded the power and millions were consumed by fire. Countries and Governments that had grown dependent on wizards for the new arms race were left floundering and confused. Tensions rose and bled into World War III, and the world was broken by the global bombardment. Magic was thought lost forever. 

Reese, a young girl of only fifteen, knows the stories and the lore. She has grown comfortable with life in the miles of caverns that make up Mammoth Cave. When Tereo, a wise traveler, arrives to weave a tale of history and fact, the pulse inside her screams out that she is meant for more. Tereo knows that Reese is the only one that can help him perform an unimaginable task. Together, along with her cousin Erik and her friend, Emily, the ragtag team set off to move the Center of Magic – and stop the gathering evil from destroying the final spark. 

Dangers, both magical and mundane assault them from all sides. New faces and allies find them while betrayal lurks close. It is a journey of fantastical determination, one that sweeps this group into heights none could dream of before and into the very depths of despair. 

Pulling from our own past and myths, this is an alternative history that combines lore, legend, current fiction and popular mythos to create a tale unlike any you’ve read before.

Reese lives in a post apocalyptic America, somewhere in Kentucky. She has pretty much been taken care of by her cousin Erik since she was five and her mom dropped her off at Mammoth Cave. One day a mysterious traveler named Tereo shows up to tell the story of Sources and Magi and the downfall of magic. Reese somehow knows Tereo and he somehow knows her. They have a connection because he has known about her for like thirty years and has been waiting for her. She is the one who will keep the Center of Magic out of the hands of evil. She, along with her cousin and her best friend, Emily, goes with Tereo in search of the Center of Magic. Along the way they learn a lot about themselves, what they're capable of, and much more. New friends are made along the way, there are betrayals and losses and there is basically just a lot going on in this book.

So what did I think of this book? I didn't love it, but it kept me entertained for a couple days. Reese is a really quick learner. She discovers at the beginning of this book that she is a witch and has magic. She learns the skills she needs quickly and surpasses everyone's expectations. 

Erik is very protective of Reese and Emily. It has been his job for his whole life to take care of and protect Reese and he takes his job very seriously. I don't really think that things could have ended up going a whole lot more poorly for Erik than they did. All the bad things that could end up happening to a person, happened to him. He was often putting himself between Em or Reese and whatever danger was around, but the poor guy deserves a break and some good fortune! On this journey, he discovers that he is a healer. Which is definitely the best thing that he could be.

Emily is the only one in the group without magic of any kind. She has skills in the healing area as well, but she can't use magic, she can just doctor you up. She is kinda spunky and asks a lot of questions. Tereo is really closed off. He doesn't really show his affection for anyone. He is a good teacher and he has good intentions and a good heart.

There is the teeniest bit of romance in this book. Mostly it feels more like crushes than anything else. It really is not a big part of this story at all. I think mostly the motivation in this story is friendship rather than love.

The plot of this book mostly moved swiftly along. There were maybe a few parts that felt kinda slow, but it seems like there was mostly always something happening.

My biggest complaints about this book would be that I would have liked to see more descriptions. More world-building. More of what the caves were like and what life was like in the caves and the world around them. Also, I feel like there should have been more thought involved in Reese going on this journey with Tereo. She just basically kinda agreed to go on this dangerous journey with a total stranger who she somehow knew and he somehow knew her. I feel it shouldn't have been so easy. Also for everyone else agreeing to join their little group. I feel there should have been at least a little more conflict there.

Overall, I think I might recommend this book to readers who are maybe a bit younger. It has a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it so if you're into that, you might enjoy this book. I might read a second one in this series, I'm not sure yet, but I am curious to see what happens to the group after the events of this book.

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