Magician's Lover suffers from what I refer to as "spinoff syndrome."
Spinoff syndrome manifests itself when an author assumes readers have
already read his or her previously published books and know all there is
to know about the characters and events in those stories. This malady
is common to the romance genre and is a potential source of frustration for
Since Warrick turned thirteen, he has wandered the world with his
teacher, the great magician, Hau Te. Warrick is now twenty-nine years
old, the year is 1138, and he and Hau Te are currently living in
Baghdad. Warrick has always understood that he was different from other
men. He believes he will never have a wife or a family, that his life is
learning spells and creating magic.
But Warrick's life changes abruptly when a spell causes Hau Te to
disappear. Vowing to find his mentor and friend, Warrick seeks the
help of John of Cornwall, an astronomer and man of wisdom, who lives in
Baghdad with his daughter, Sophia. John of Cornwall tells Warrick he
will help him find Hau Te, if Warrick will do him a favor.
John knows that he is dying and he wants Warrick to escort Sophy to her
mother's family in Byzantium. John has never cared for his daughter;
she is little more than an irritation to him. He did, however, love his
wife, Sophy's mother, and he promised her that he would someday return
their daughter to her family.
For Warrick, this request is easier said then done. Although attracted
to each other, Warrick and Sophy do not get along. Sophy is an angry
woman; she has spent her entire life trying to win her father's love
only to be rejected at every turn. Sophy doesn't want to leave the only
home she has ever known.
After her father dies, Sophy turns all her anger, frustration and pain
toward Warrick. Sophy shoots nasty verbal darts at Warrick,
constantly berating him for his lack of talent as a magician. It is only
when she realizes that Warrick pities her for her situation that she
stops fighting, for the moment, and decides to allow him to escort her
Ms. Speer does a fine job of creating and developing the character of
the heroine in this story. At first, Sophy is an angry, bitter woman.
But as she and Warrick travel to Byzantium, Sophy gradually sheds her
angry shell and becomes a woman who is able to like and respect
herself. Throughout this tale, the author allows you to see who Sophy
is and why she acts the way she does.
Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said for Warrick's character.
Although I got a sense of his character, enough to give me a general
idea of what kind of man he is, I did not get the full picture because
his background is so sketchy. There are a few vague, cryptic passages
about Warrick's past, including something bad or sad about his
relationship with his mother.
If I had read Ms. Speer's previous books, I like to think that I'd know all about Warrick's past. Hopefully, these questions were answered: Why he took off with Hau Te at the age of thirteen? Why he doesn't think he can have a family? Why he has devoted his life to learning magic when he doesn't seem to enjoy it?
By the end of this story, I was feeling very frustrated by the lack of
information concerning Warrick's past. Ms. Speer is a fine writer and
while it would not be a hardship to read her previous books, I'm a bit
peeved that, in order to truly understand the hero in Magician's Lover,
it seems I have to.