Magecraft: Daynor
by D.K. Lange
Westwood Books Publishing

"No one is ever forgotten.... Love does not allow for a person to be forgotten."

Kandor’s coup to overthrow an elderly master mage on Kryton Four triggers a ripple in the fabric of the universe, hurtling the main character, Daynor, through the Gates of Never and to her destiny. In nearly every way, Daynor’s story is a coming-of-age narrative. She has been raised in the graces of her grandfather, a Dumbledore-esque master sorcerer. But as they are having what will be their final conversation, the realization dawns upon Daynor that she is about to be completely alone in a new world that is likely to be nothing like Kryton Four.

Lange does a commendable job of executing traditional fantasy tropes in conjunction with strong worldbuilding elements. In particular, when the trio of Sir Toren—the Sixth Knight of the Guild on Anola Tor—and his friends Santor the shapeshifter and Rufo the elf encounter Daynor, it is extremely insightful to see the concept of the universal implanted translator that gets activated upon touching another being. At the same time, the twelfth star, Zintros, is the highlight of many of the most intense battles between good and evil and is captured with a stirring concoction of frozen wasteland and high desert. Whether it’s how Daynor communicates through other species and channels their abilities, like flying through Craven, or how she can heal even the most deadly of wounds, her character is front and center in terms of magical ability.

From the chaos of the ripple, Daynor meets her numerous destinies. In her encounter with the Pixie Queen, she is viewed as the savior with the taralee that plays the elvin song. Similar sentiments are shared by the dragons. However, Daynor, dominant and unyielding in nearly all capacities, is at her core simply a truly empathetic individual seeking to instill love in all of life’s beings. At the behest of the Pixie Queen’s Pool of Life, another creative worldbuilding feature, Toren and Daynor are wed. From the time their fates intersect, they are inseparable, with their relationship evolving from a tug-of-war type power struggle into one of absolute and unconditional love. Its infectious qualities permeate throughout nearly everyone and everything that cross their path. Castle-storming minotaurs and apocalyptic weather, among a slew of obstacles, are no match for Toren, Daynor, and company.

More than anything else, it is Lange’s tact with using backstory and age-old prophecies to peel back layers of the characters’ past that adds more depth to a characters’ motives. From the get-go, a layer of secrecy is present in how Daynor got to Kryton Four in the first place. The same applies to the origin story of her mother, who is the first being in fifteen hundred years to survive coming through the Gate of Never. In the spirit of the coming-of-age angle, Daynor never fits in, not on Kryton Four nor on Anola Tor, until she wholeheartedly embraces her call to action.

Throughout the novel, the author employs swift and fluid action scenes that utilize the magical capabilities of the world. Strong motifs of fire and ice are prevalent along with themes such as anger and ego that consume the individual into blindness. On the flip side, the protagonists consistently demonstrate selflessness and care for all species. Thus, the questions that arise in the novel evolve from the root of fantasy. What makes one good, and what makes one evil? Are characters all good or all evil? How strong of a role does circumstance play in their evolution? Overall, magecraft magic is intriguing, easy to understand, and serves a purpose in pushing the story forward. The characters and the worlds are part and parcel of the story. Lange has an extraordinary knack for simply letting the characters act upon the world they live in, making for an interesting read and an organic plot.

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