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Secret of the Sixth Magic de Lyndon Hardy
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Secret of the Sixth Magic (1984 original; edició 1984)

de Lyndon Hardy (Autor)

Sèrie: Master of Magics (2)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
758328,333 (3.33)2
The laws of the five magics were being set aside. If the world was to be saved it was up to Jason the scribe. But what was he to do? He had writer's block and suffered from agoraphobia. He was not a hero for the sagas.
Títol:Secret of the Sixth Magic
Autors:Lyndon Hardy (Autor)
Informació:Del Rey (1984), Edition: 1st, 366 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca

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Secret of the Sixth Magic de Lyndon Hardy (1984)

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Having enjoyed book 1 of this series, although not quite as much as on my original read years ago, I approached this hoping for another adventure story with the added bonus of a magical system that has been really worked out, even if the characterisation left something to be desired. Unfortunately, I found this one really dragged. I also discovered that these books are more or less standalone: the protagonist of book 1 makes a cameo appearance near the end of this one, but the story is entirely independent. In fact, it takes place in a different country than the first and some years later.

As the story opens, Jemidon has just arrived on the island of Morgana which, in the land of Arcadia, is the home of sorcerors. Because (as was made clear in book 1) the use of sorcery actually drains the user's life force, in Arcadia sorcery is used for only lightweight spells to create illusions. These illusions have become an artform and are exhibited each year in a presentation hall, but in recent years the Prince of Arcadia has become an important patron and puts up a sizeable purse for the winner. Jemidon needs to succeed in sorcery and earn a black robe because he has already tried the other four magical disciplines and been a complete failure: although he is able to absorb the theory quickly enough, he somehow always messes up the practice. And, as becomes clear when he is lucky enough to find a sorceror who will take him on as a tyro (apprentice), he is bored by the repetition and rote learning necessary in the magical crafts and fails to apply himself. This is unfortunate as, ever since he was first sent with a gold brandel (coin) to apply to become a thaumaturge - a coin that might otherwise have paid for medicine to save his little sister who was fevered - he has borne the guilt of his sister's death, and the coin on a thong around his neck as a reminder of why he must succeed.

The annual contest is imminent and Jemidon helps his new master - whose illusions have been eclipsed by a rival's for some years - to prepare, but the intercession of a trader with savage dogs and an odd insistence in showing his own type of illusion, plus Jemidon's encounter with the trader's beautiful slave girl Delia, throws several spanners in the works. Sorcery loses its potency and Jemidon leaves in pursuit of the trader to the larger more prosperous island of Pluton which is the centre of currency trading and the place where magicians produce the enchanted coinage which forms the basis of all wealth. He still seeks the black robe of mastery, and an old flame Augusta tries to help him, but a combination of the machinations of the trader - or rather his sinister master - and Jemidon's own clumsiness and perpetual distraction with puzzles that seize his attention, mean that both are soon in peril.

The invention encountered in the first book continues in this story, although here, instead of the original five magical arts, the focus is on a system which displaces them (I will say no more to avoid spoilers). Confusingly, the book refers several times to seven magics - I think that must be a continuity error in the context (although I take the point that there could be a lot more, just not all active at once - however, it didn't read as if that was the meaning).

The main problem is that I found the protagonist quite repellent. Apart from the fact that, early on in the story, he takes Delia's thanks for saving her as an invitation into bed - which she has to rebuff - he is lazy, lacking in focus and more interested in puzzles than key things that are going on. Until quite late in the story he aims to learn from the mysterious master when it is perfectly clear that this person is bent on the overthrow and domination of everything - and should be opposed, not assisted. It makes Jemidon appear quite stupid despite his supposed intelligence. Repeatedly, when a conversation is in progress in which he should interject to tell people about the villain's machinations, he just stands there and says nothing. Also, there is supposed to be a love triangle between him, Delia and Augusta, but he never comes across as having real feelings for either woman. After reading the book, I saw that a second edition had been issued by the author, possibly in a small press edition, which mentions changes to the protagonist's character, so maybe there have been improvements - I can only judge by the version I've read.

The other problem with the book is that it is very difficult to envisage some of the concepts and machines/contrivances being described at various times. So it was rather a chore to read through to the end to discover what happened, despite a brief cameo by Alodar from book 1, and I can only rate this as 2 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
I pulled this off of my "Someday" shelf last Thursday looking for the light fantasy that was Hardy's Master of Five Magics. Bit of a back story, I found the third book in the meta series eight years ago in a flea market. I liked Hardy's imaginative constructs in Five Magics, so I went hunting this one. I couldn't get into it, so set it aside, only to lose it (and 5,800 other books) to a fire in 2013. I found Riddle of the Seven Realms again, found this one again, and put them on that Someday shelf.

So...where Master of Five Magics was clever, this is an M. Knight Shyamalan sequel... except worse. Word salad neologistic magic-speak with new (attempts at clever again) concepts thrown out with no preamble, no explanation, and no resolution. Add shallow characters and shallower plot, and this is a mess.I don't know if #3 is any better, but it'll be a little while before I find out. ( )
  Razinha | Aug 20, 2019 |
This is the sequel to Master of the five magics. It has a new protagonist and is set in another part of the same world. The main character of the previous book makes a cameo appearance.

I found it frustrating to read. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on, but the protagonist keeps ignoring it in order to ineffectually pursue his own career. Several times his nose is rubbed into the fact that he saw something really weird, and then he starts thinking about it but then he's interrupted and just forgets about it again. I suppose it's a form of tension-building, or simply a plot device for keeping the protagonist (who is allegedly a keen puzzle-solver) from solving the mystery too early, but it didn't work for me.

The main appeal of the previous book, namely the careful revelation of new systems of magic, didn't work well here. Partly because of aforementioned problem, and partly because of inconsistencies—the "sixth magic" didn't actually work as described, with some rules driving the plot in one chapter and then being ignored in another.

There was some interesting scenery and world-building, though.

I'm disappointed but I'll still give the next book (Riddle of the seven realms) a chance. ( )
2 vota Amtep | Nov 6, 2007 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Lyndon Hardyautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Morrill, RowenaAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Shapiro, ShellyMapautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Taylor, GeoffAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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The laws of the five magics were being set aside. If the world was to be saved it was up to Jason the scribe. But what was he to do? He had writer's block and suffered from agoraphobia. He was not a hero for the sagas.

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Mitjana: (3.33)
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