Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Sorcery Code, by Dima Zales

This week I'm going back into the anthologies of fantasy that I purchased so long ago and reading the next one in the list. I've also come to the conclusion that all of these books are the first in their series which were offered in an extremely cheap bundle to induce readers to then go after about a dozen different fantasy series. However, as I've got plenty of other books to keep me occupied, I'm content to just check out the first books and see if they're any good. Unfortunately so far they've been okay at best.

The Sorcery Code and its series are set in the world of Koldun, which is ruled over by powerful sorcerers who supplanted the nobility as the ruling class about two hundred years ago. Magic requires extremely complex coding and mathematical skills, vaguely similar to computer coding. People with aptitude are trained by the Sorcerers' Council and become part of the ruling elite, while the majority of the population lives in poverty. Further complicating matters is a drought that's been going on for numerous years, further affecting the lower classes. The Sorcerers are rightly afraid that the peasants may rise up in rebellion.

Blaise is not like most of the Council and actually cares about the plight of the common people He has worked on a number of projects which would make magic more accessible to the people and has recently embarked on a project to create an intelligent object that would enable practically anyone to utilize magic like a sorcerer. What Blaise did not expect was the object to take the form of a beautiful woman, whom he quickly names Gala. It seems Blaise managed to pull an actual consciousness from the Spell Realm to the Material Realm and give it...for lack of a better Gala's existence challenges everything previously known about magic and further threatens to topple the decrepit structure of the sorcerers' power.

I think the worst I can say about this book is that it's very generic. It utilizes several well-used plotlines and stays fairly true to form without adding a unique twist. There's the Pygmalion Plot which has been used from Pygmalion to Weird Science and beyond and this book offers very little variation. There's the Rebellion Against Authority in which a corrupt and unjust system must be rebelled against and replaced with something better, again practically ancient. And finally there's Gala's infatuation with everything, having literally been born yesterday, which is also very by the numbers. And that's really the book's greatest problem, it doesn't really stand out in any particular way.

Everything about the book feels fairly standard, off the shelf, mass produced stories. The paint job and maybe a few of the details are a little different, but otherwise it feels like it rolled off of an assembly line. I fully expect in a few weeks this book will totally lapse from my memory and if asked I'll be hardly able to say anything about it. If these plots interest you personally, much like my strange fascination with robots, then it may be up your alley, but for me it just felt terribly generic. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but nothing that makes it stand out either.

- Kalpar

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