Title: Sorcery Rising
Author: Jude Fisher
Series: Fool’s Gold
Sexual Content: Moderate
Objectional Content: Rape, violence
Synopsis: A talented knife-maker with a natural affinity with the elements of the earth, Katla Aransen, the beautiful and rebellious daughter of an Eyran merchant, finds herself targeted by Istrian fanatics after she accidentally commits sacrilege and by Saro Katla, a blade-forger; and Saro, the second son of an Istrian nobleman–are forever changed.
Sorcery Rising starts out by introducing a plethora of characters. I was almost instantly confused by the number of names being thrown at me and could not keep track of who was who. I also noticed pretty quickly that there is a weird sexual undertone to the narrative. I understand that the majority of the characters here are in their late teens/early twenties and sexual attraction is completely normal and it makes sense for them to be having these types of feelings. However, the father who is lustful of his own daughter was a bit much.
This book takes it’s time establishing the setting, introducing characters and pointing out, in a way, the differences between the different people. On one side are the Isstrians, who worship a goddess, but closet their woman away, clothing them in robes that cover everything except their mouths and hands. It’s sacrilege for a woman to show her face in public. They are not taught to read or write and essentially exist as property to be traded from a father to a husband. This seemed very backwards to me for a people that worship a goddess. I would have thought having a female deity would be more empowering to the women in society instead of the opposite.
On yhe other hand, there’s the Eyrans, who are the ancient enemy of the Isstrians and considered barbarians. They worship a god and their society is some what more equal, though not completely. The women are allowed to do things most women wouldn’t, such as forging swords and knives and being considered to excel at her craft. At the same time, a daughter can be bargained off by her father and the woman has no say in the matter. This was so contrary to me as the Eyrans are described as having equality between the sexes.
The third people are nomads. Not as much is told about these people, but my impression was something along the lines of gypsies.
I felt like the story took a long time to really pick up. As I said, there were many characters and it was hard to keep track of them all. I did like Katla, though the way she is described gave off “I’m not like other girls” vibes. She is a strong character, who loves to climb and has an affinity with the earth. She is brave and stubborn and the kind of person I’d like to have as a friend since she would risk her own life for a stranger in need.
Other than Saro and Katla, I didn’t find many of the characters to be overly likeable. Many of them are greedy, making deals in order to get money for something else they want out of obsession.
As for the plot, it was slow to start. As the characters are introduced and interact with others, we see how tensions still exist between the Isstrians and the Eyrans and how little it would take to spark another war.
For a fantasy novel, there isn’t a lot of magic or fantastical creatures. There is some magic, but it is mostly confined to a few individuals. however, as the novel progresses, it become clear that magic is beginning to return to the world. Charms and potions are suddenly working more powerfully than they should, and characters begin to develop powers they didn’t have before.
Overall, this novel feels like setting up for what is to come in the rest of the trilogy. I’m curious to see how it goes and will continue with the next book.
My rating for Sorcery Rising is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy with a slower pace and lots of characters.
As always, thanks for reading!