“I’m not a hero. I never was.”
Ian Troy is not a hero. His story is not an epic quest of a noble man trying to help those in need. He has his moments, but mostly Troy’s head (and life) is a really dark place. Magic-Price is an adult, raw fantasy read that narrates exactly what the title promises: the aftermath of choices that resulted in devastation, and the price of using an infinite amount of magic, a price that haunted Troy for years and shaped him to the person he is. Troy was not easy to like; he kept making rash and foolish decisions and feeling bound by attachments what were not well-founded. Personally I preferred Malaq with his hidden agendas and Jarryd with his devotion, they were great secondary characters and have the potential for exciting storylines.
However, I can’t help but admit that Troy’s story was a gripping one. A curious thing happened with Magic-Price; there were times I was rather bored, and then there were times I couldn’t put it down. C.L. Schneider with her deft hands crafted a solid world, without gaps and holes. With the exception of the magic system that occasionally confused me, the war, the politics, the inner demons that haunted Troy and ravaged his sanity were well-depicted. His world was a bleak one, reeking of desperation, fear and power abuse. It was mature and brutal, with a heavy dose of action and sinister villains, and I must commend the author because while reading Magic-Price I couldn’t tell that it was a debut, it seemed like the work of an experienced writer.
My biggest issue with Magic-Price, though, was the treatment and representation of the female gender. The women had only three uses: pleasure, rape and backstabbing. On the one hand there were several occurrences and mentions of rape or/and attempted rape that made my stomach twist, and on the other hand every single female character lusted over Troy. I wanted empowering women, I wanted strong and independent women who were not overridden by carnal desires or chose the wrong side for misguided sentimental reasons.
All in all, Magic-Price, with its perks and flaws, is an interesting, solid story that leaves a lasting impact on the reader. I wish C.L. Schneider all the best in the competition and her future endeavors.