Saturday, April 20, 2013

Legacies (Shadow Grail Series #1)

Legacies (Shadow Grail Series #1)
by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
320 pages
Middle School+

Spirit White remembers little of the car accident that killed her parents and little sister.  All she can see is something darker than night, and then the accident.  Waking up in the hospital afterwards, she has little motivation to live, and after a fire at her home, no belongings to keep.  Spirit is surprised to learn that a school called Oakhurst Academy is taking care of hospital bills, plus providing a place for her to live after she recovers.  Finally she leaves the hospital and travels to Oakhurst in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Early on, Spirit learns that this school is more than just a boarding school for orphans like herself- it is a school of wizards and magicians.  Each person there has gifts and talents that set them apart from the rest of the world, magical talents.  When it's time for Spirit to find out which element her powers come from, no one element feels right to her.  Confused and feeling very alone, Spirit wishes that she had died with her family.

Slowly, Spirit starts to feel more at home as she begins to make friends: Loch, who arrived with her, Addie and Muirin who helped show her around, and big Burke, a battle mage that can learn any fighting style.  As they grow closer, they start to notice a strange pattern of other kids going missing.  When one of Muirin's close friends disappears, they decide to look closer at what is happening.  Who is taking the kids?  Why do they never hear from graduates?  And will Spirit ever find her power?

So, while on the surface it seems to be another "wizard school" novel, the story comes out fairly different than other novels I've read with that theme.  The dynamics within the school setting feel very different that the Harry Potter books, something the author does on purpose since Oakhurst is very different than Hogwarts!   Some similarities exist, but this book has it's own character and feel.

I do like that way that the book deals with Spirit's grief at losing her family.  At first, it is overwhelming, and consumes her.  Then someone tells her to stop feeling sorry for herself, and she starts to get on with her life.  She continues to think about them, and miss them, so it's not this abrupt "oh I'm over that" feeling.  Spirit's family continue to be a part of her- she is always hearing her mother's voice saying something that applies to her situation, or thinking of what her sister would do.  They stay a part of her, and she remembers them and misses them, but fortunately it doesn't overwhelm the story.  Instead it's a reminder that she wishes life were different.

Overall, fairly good book.  This is the second time I've read it, so good enough to come back to it!  A couple sequels have been written, so I'm excited to read those as well.  While not completely impressed with it, I will read the sequels.  Likable characters, interesting plot line (even if a little predictable by the end), and lots of potential for more to happen.  Good book, have fun!

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