Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Blogtour part 2: The Magician's Workshop, Vol.2

The second book in this series takes us to the huge, very public ceremony where the young people we've been following have to stand in a queue and have their colours drawn from them - or be found blank - in front of a huge stadium of people. Of course there are theories about how the event is staged, or how statistics can be applied to gauge probabilities - all the usual things that big sporting events or elections attract. The descriptions of how the colours appear and how they differ are rather lovely, but the children's reactions to them are also well portrayed: this is a real coming-of-age trial and will govern the rest of their lives. We might think we know how it will turn out for each of them but this subtlety of the different colours, not just the black and white outcome of whether they will have colour or not, makes the results all the more interesting - and it doesn't necessarily go the way we expect it will anyway. And all through this book there is an increasing air of - perhaps not quite menace, but the quiet threat that not is all quite as it seems in this world of the authoritative and appallingly wealthy magicians and all that they project on their world. We become so engrossed with each character's story that it's not until near the end that we realise there is one storyline we have not touched on at all in this volume - then we go to it and it is more painful than any of the others, but seems to lead us closer to the heart of the mystery.

This is not my usual kind of book, and it is not aimed at my decrepit age-group, but I read it about a month ago and I keep finding myself wondering what happens next. I look forward to the next instalment!

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