Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Magic Systems

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on Goodreads hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube.

I wasn't planning on posting Top 5 Wednesday posts this month because I have so much going on but the topics are ones I really like.  So for this week the topic is magic systems.  Now I have read a lot of fantasy books over the years, and it seems more this year than in the previous several years, but a lot of those fantasy seem to be more historical type settings with little or no magic, and others seem to have your typical fae magic systems, so nothing really unique that needed to be developed.  So I decided to include books/series that have unique magic systems that are well developed and can stand up to a series long scrutiny. 

First we have a fantasy romance series that I really enjoy
While the Kingmaker Chronicles don't really present a new magic system, based on genetics and passed down over the centuries through the blood of the gods.  I included it in this list because at one point Kat, our main character, absorbs the blood and therefore the magic and affinity toward a particular magic of a dragon, and it was epic!

Next we have one of my favorite books this year
A Plague of Giants is the first book in the Seven Kennings series where people at random are born with an affinity for certain types of magic, and while it is random it does appear that the affinity leans heavily upon their location in the world (by water you get Tide magic, etc). This is an epic fantasy for adults so it does take quite a bit to develop and we aren't even fully there yet but it is amazing and I can't wait to read more.

You didn't actually think you could get away without me mentioning the Graceling Realm series did you?!
This series is unique in the fact that there are 2 different magic systems, in Graceling and Bitterblue the gracelings are identified by 2 different colors of eyes, but their affinity or power needs to be discovered on their own. Some of the power is useless, some of has unbelievable benefits.  In Fire, basically power comes from their beauty both in humans and creatures and offers the benefit of control over minds and is inherited.  Both systems are really well developed for having done so in only one or two books.

Then we have a series that pre-dates my blogging days (and I need to revisit soon)
In the White Magic series, the horses hold the magic, they call to their riders for training. Then their dressage style dances are what focuses the magic, different numbers of horses, gaits and patterns determines the magic's strength and purpose. As a horse lover, this was an instant yes for me! 

Finally another series I started reading this year
The Book of the Ancestor has another extremely complex magic system, while I don't fully understand it at this time, I think that is the way it is meant to be.  It is an interesting blend of sci-fi with satellites and new age with meditation.  I am looking forward to reading the next and I believe final book in the series to see what else is revealed about the magic system.

Honorable Mention
Of course we can't talk magic systems with out the Treehouse built by Merlin that will take you anywhere you want in history or fiction as long as you read it out of a book!

So what are your favorite magic systems?  What do you look for in a unique system?


  1. Fun topic! Magic systems are tricky. They can’t be so detailed the author forgets they’re writing a story but they need to be detailed enough to be believable.

    1. Very true, it is a fine line to writing a clear magic system and info dumping, but when it is done right it is amazing!