Michael Pryor is the author of one of my favourite beginnings to a story.
“Aubrey Fitzwilliam hated being dead. It made things much harder than they needed to be“. (Blaze of Glory).
His steampunk “Laws of Magic” series for adolescents is fast-paced, funny, thought-provoking and has a lot of plot twists. However, it is the characters that I love most about this series. They are flawed, fully-rounded personalities with histories and aspirations. The women in the series are strong, resilient and interesting with unique and mostly unbelievable skills and knowledge. The women do not wait for the male characters to define the plot but journey off errantly at times creating havoc and being heroes in their own right. The emotions between the characters are restrained and subtle which makes the different friendships and love interests authentic and poignant.
Aubrey as the main character, as in all epic series, undergoes significant growth and self-actualisation over the course of the books, learning to curb his arrogance and impatience and especially what it is to love. Most of the male characters demonstrate gentlemanliness, with little and stilted expressions of emotion underpinned by a strong sense of moral duty and doing the right thing.
The novels evoke a vivid sense of time and space, describing Edwardian dress and interiors within a wild universe of shifting realities and magic, elaborate machines and devices. When I first read them, I was struck by the originality of both the narrative and the writing. Michael Pryor assumes intelligence in his reading audience.
Both my son and I eagerly awaited each book as it came out to seek it out for purchase. As much as I love the series, for some reason I found the last novel harder to follow, it was quite dense with action as the different story lines came together and had less humour and light perhaps than the others. A satisfying conclusion but less pleasurable to read.
In summary, a vastly entertaining series and suitable for an audience of mature 10 and above. Begging to be translated into the big screen with all of the new technology for special effects.
Author: Michael Pryor
Titles: Laws of Magic series
1. Blaze of Glory
2. Heart of Gold
3. Word of Honour
4. Time of Trial
5. Moment of Truth
6. Hour of Need
(Great reading also)