Magic a la Carte

Carolee Croft

I’ve been reading The Rivers of London, which has been the new and hot thing among fantasy readers, but actually I wasn’t that impressed. To begin with, the main character seems sexually needy and pathetic, but that wasn’t the main thing I wanted to talk about.

Today I want to talk about the way magic is portrayed in fantasy books. There’s a certain style to doing it which readers have gotten used to and are comfortable with… maybe too comfortable. After all, magic is something mysterious and unpredictable, in my humble opinion.

But there are many writers out there who insist that there should be a magic “system” which basically makes it boil down to a science. There should be a price for every type of magic, they insist, as if someone was ordering it from a menu.

Isn’t the whole point of magic is that it’s, well, magical?

In…

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