I just finished the book recently, and I must that it almost – almost reads like something you’d encounter in an English class. Seriously, it’s that deep IMO. Magic fiction is better than it’s ever been, with 3 great novels in a row. I look forward to the next Planeswalker novel, to feature Liliana Vess.
The Purifying Fire is the second installment in the planeswalker series of novels, following Ari Marmell’s Agents of Artifice. Written by Laura Resnick, an acclaimed fantasy and romance writer, this book is the tale of Chandra Nalaar, a pyromancer who seeks to hone her skills both at fire magic and the art of planeswalking.
The story begins in Regatha, a plane where the legendary Jaya Ballard once came to showcase her powers as one of the best pyromancers in history. Here, she founded the Kirilian monastery, where many practitioners of “the art of boom” seek to become the best they can be. Devoted to her craft, Chandra Nalaar has now planeswalked to Regatha in the hopes of learning to control the immense power that she has been given as a planeswalker.
However, all is not well in Regatha. A society called the Order of Heliud, comprised primarily of white mages, has decided that it is their duty to “bring peace and harmony to the land”. Sure enough, they attempt to outlaw the practicing of fire magic, because of the supposed inherently violent nature of anyone who wields it.
A free spirit with a fiery temper, Chandra will not stand for this, and engages on a reckless crusade to drive the dictators out of the plane she has learned to call home. However, there are those who would do anything in their power to stop her, from hordes of angry ouphes to fellow planeswalkers with allegiances and backgrounds more cryptic than those of Chandra herself.
Among them is a planeswalker named Gideon, a white mage who seems to be fighting both alongside and against the fiery heroine’s attempts at survival. Through her acquaintance with Gideon, Chandra becomes stronger on her quest to self-realization, while learning more about the Multiverse around her and the many different sides of white magic.
The Purifying Fire is unique in that it truly explores the mind of a planeswalker. Every single thought and feeling of Chandra is eloquently presented, and that’s what makes Resnick’s novel so intriguing. Although there are some obvious differences between planeswalkers and humans, the humanization of Chandra is quite remarkable. She suffers through many of the same trials and tribulations that humans must endure, and for this I must commend Mrs. Resnick.
Through the lands of Regatha, Kephalai, and Diraden, Chandra and the enigmatic Gideon showcase very different behaviors from their traditional colour stereotypes. Although she has the reckless passion known to red mages, she has a strong sense of loyalty to her fellow mages. Gideon on the other hand, promises peace and order in a way that Thomas Hobbes would have admired, the concepts of which are very white-aligned, but the means used to achieve that end most definitely are not. This intrigues my inner vorthos, as we see Chandra take on many traits not native to red, such as white’s sense of right and wrong, and blue’s love of knowledge. Gideon, on the other hand, is not as “pure” as he would have people believe; he shows many traces of black characteristics, such as the willingness to sacrifice human life to further their own agenda.
The Purifying Fire is a must-read for those of you who enjoy the rich storyline of Magic and the Multiverse. Whether you’re interested in the innermost workings of a planeswalkers mind, or are simply a fan of giant fireballs and explosions, you’ll love The Purifying Fire, on bookshelves now.
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