Review: Mind of the Magic (Arhel Book 3 of 3)

Mind of the Magic - Holly Lisle

This third and final book in the Arhel series was another fun and quick read, although there were things I both liked and disliked about it.  

One of the things I liked was that it took the one thread I hadn’t thought was wrapped up well in the previous book and spun an entire story about it.  We learn a lot more about Arhel, the part of the fictional world these books are set in, and how it came to be the way it is.  I also liked that there was humor in the book.  Nothing uproarious, but there were several little things that made me smile or chuckle.  I think the humor has steadily and subtly increased throughout the series.

Unlike the other books, this book is told from the perspective of a single character – Faia, the main character from the original book.  I’ve liked her throughout the series.  She had been a strong character, capable of taking care of herself, never in a serious romantic relationship but perfectly capable of interacting with and having meaningful friendships with other people while finding ways to make herself useful.  

In this book, however, Faia lost a lot of the qualities that I had liked so much about her.  She seemed to be having a bit of a crisis.  She was having a harder time finding ways to be useful, and she was starting to feel like her life couldn’t possibly be complete without a husband.  So, the interesting story was frequently interrupted by potential suitors being paraded through the pages for Faia to consider and we frequently had to listen to her thoughts about why she wanted a husband and why this or that man wouldn’t do.  This is a minor and mostly vague spoiler for the romance part of the story:

To make things worse, near the end when she did finally make a choice, I thought it was handled unrealistically, or at least unwisely, and I would have liked to think Faia was smarter than that.  There was no cautious, “I like you a lot so far, let’s get to know each other better and see where things go.”  It was more like, “Why yes, I’ll marry you.  After all, we’ve known each other for almost a whole month and I’ve decided I like you a lot.”

(show spoiler)

That last paragraph might be a teensy bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one.  It annoyed me enough that I’m tempted to knock off half a star for it.  However, I did enjoy the story aside from that one rather large annoyance and I enjoyed the entire series a lot, so I’m going to be generous.

I was happy to see that I have another book in my backlog by the same author.  It’s the beginning of another series, and I think I’ll save it for the next time I’ve been slogging through some tougher reads and need a good change of pace.