I have had Aurian by Maggie Furey sitting on my shelves since 2004 – I know this because I pulled the receipt out of the book. It took me seven years to pick it up and seven days to finish it. Oh, the humanity.
I haven’t been in the mood for High Fantasy for a long time having converted to Urban Fantasy for the past few years. For those out of the loop, High fantasy has chicks with chain mail, or robes, (and Dragons!) on the covers. Urban Fantasy leans more towards leather and midriffs, and guns, or swords swinging… in the city (insert Joe Walsh here). But I run on. Urban Fantasy has been rocking my book world for a while now, so what made me pick this up? Simple, it’s one of the 50 blue goal books for the year. In reading Aurian I am transported back to books I used to read more frequently, perhaps way back in 2004. I grew up wielding fake swords and spouting made up names while wearing a cape. Surprise anyone? Unlikely.
Anywho, the book. The book.
Aurian has grown up secluded from the world by her mageborn mother. Having withdrawn from the world after the death of her husband, Eilin is unnerved at the arrival of a swordsman named Forral. Forral has come to help and bonds immediately with Aurian, eventually teaching her to sword fight. When Aurian’s powers begin to emerge it is Forral who convinces Eilin to send her to the Academy, a place for Magefolk to train. Sequestered and fearful of mortals Miathan, the Archmage, has it in his head to rule over them… even if there are only a handful of mages left. When bigotry reaches a fever pitch will Aurian be able to find it in herself to surmount the hatred?
I enjoyed this. Quite a lot. It’s been a minute since I have delved into High Fantasy but I took to it very easily. It’s home for me in the genre world, after all. And what a ride Furey takes the reader on! Mages, and mortals, and whales, and telepathic cats, and lost objects, and gladiatorial arenas, and corrupt kings, and scheming women, and scheming men, and and and… it’s quite a trip.
I was also pleased to see some traditional mythology creeping in here. If I remember my Welsh Mythology correctly (The Mabinogion, The Chronicles of Prydain – holla!). There are symbols that turn up both in those pieces and in Maggie Furey’s quartet; the Cauldron of the dead, the sword of power, a staff, a harp, a trip into the faerie realm. Sheesh, there’s even a talking cat in Lloyd Alexander’s books. One can argue that Furey is “stealing” from these myths, but since Welsh mythology in particular is so prevalent in contemporary fantasy it’s hardly theft. Harry Potter is taking from these myths as well.
I’m glad I read this instead of selling it for credit (as I thought of doing a while back). I will be reading the remaining books in the series… after a small break. But definitely. I wanted to hack off half a star for Furey’s over usage of the phrase “indomitable will” but I’m not going to. It was the only thing I didn’t like about the book. So there’s that.
5 out of 5 stars. It’s good, if you can find a copy. It’s a little out of print right now.
– Follow the Reader –