Wild Magic by Jo Clayton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The story of spunky, defiant Faan who is forced into a war between god and goddess, Wild Magic is, at its heart, a tale of ordinary people caught up in cosmic circumstances. It's a story with an intensely realized and complex world which is never fully explained to the reader - most of its concepts are learned by osmosis (or perhaps not at all). It's the kind of book that probably wouldn't be published today: full of dense, poetic language, an overabundance of made-up words, and following its heroine from infancy through growing pains to the adolescence in which the real story starts. Yet this life-long course is perfect for the story: it allows us to understand Faan in both her mundane and magical aspects.
It's a pity that this book is under-explained - some major concepts, like the Change, seem to appear suddenly and are left to inference, and there are aspects of the setting that I still don't understand. Faan's time learning sorcery was generally glossed over, which felt like a major omission, though it wasn't necessarily crucial to the story and seems like it will come into play more in the second book. As far as a satisfactory ending, Wild Magic has a great "Yes, but ..." conclusion ... and that's all I'll say on that.
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