Weekly Recommendations – ‘Spell’ing Lessons

This week I’d like to recommend some anime and books that take place in and around schools for magic (or just magical schools). So if you’re looking to learn a thing or two about magic – here’s your chance!

Magical Warfare (Anime)

Magical Warfare takes place in a fascinating alternate reality. The world was nearly destroyed by a magical war years ago, and at that time a group of mages split off the damaged portion of the world and effectively recreated the old world. As a result, they’re left with the ‘Ruined World’ and the ‘Living World’. The majority of humanity lives in the Living World, blissfully unaware of the magical horrors that exist within the Ruined World. Our main characters are given magic by an unfortunate accident, leading to them being forced to enter into a school run by the strongest of the magical societies that divide up the Ruined World.

The show isn’t perfect, with a few characterization and pacing issues, but it is a fairly enjoyable show to watch overall – even if it did end a bit prematurely.

The White Order (Book)

The White Order is probably my favourite book in the Saga of Recluce by L.E.Modesitt Jr. It is the one of very few that gives a bit of insight into what it is like to be a Chaos Wizard – most of the series focuses on their opposition, the Order Mages – and as a result of that it has a very different feel from the other books.

Cerryl is a farmboy whose father died because he tried to teach himself how to be a Chaos Wizard. While apprenticing at a scrivener’s shop, he gets opportunity to join the White Order of Fairhaven and become a Chaos Wizard. The majority of this first book in his story takes place with him spending time in Fairhaven learning from the Wizards at the school there. The characters are believable, the story is very cerebral and thoughtful, and the mechanics of the world never cease to amaze me. This is not a high action book, but it is incredible read and it is one of my favourite books overall.

Irregular at Magic High (Anime)

In Irregular at Magic High, science has discovered a way to allow some people to perform incredible feats using devices known as CADs. Individuals with an affinity for this are trained in schools around the world to understand and use CADs in a variety of different ways.

Within 1st High – the premier of these schools – people are segregated by base ability after the entrance exam. The more skilled ones enter the Course 1 curriculum and are known as ‘Blooms’ while the less skilled enter the Course 2 curriculum and are known as ‘Weeds’ or ‘Irregulars’. Our two main characters – siblings Tatsuya Shiba and Miyuki Shiba – enroll in the school. Tatsuya ends up in Course 2 while his sister ends in Course 1, but neither of these two is quite what they seem. And it is their mysterious histories that lead to the show’s real charm.

It’s a show that constantly throws twists at you, but never without providing adequate buildup that these twists make no sense. And the approach to magic the show has me incredibly intrigued – I’m hoping we get more explanations as the season goes on. But we’ll go more into that in my review, which should be coming within the next couple weeks.

Arrows of the Queen (Book)

The first true Valdemar book Mercedes Lackey wrote, Arrows of the Queen is the story of Talia from a distant border settlement of the Kingdom of Valdemar and how she is taken out of her unhappy life among the Hold and given the chance at her dream, becoming a Herald of Valdemar. The first book deals with her training and schooling in the capital, Haven, as she learns all the things she’ll need to know to be one of Valdemar’s elite as well as how to handle her rather mysterious powers. The series continues from there in two further books showing what happens to her after she completes her training.

This is a series I frequently go back to reread, and the Collegium in Valdemar is one of the quintessential ‘magic schools’ of fantasy literature.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed these recommendations. I’ll be at Ai-Kon all next weekend and be working on post-Ai-Kon content on Monday, so there won’t be a recommendations post next week, but feel free to post your own recommendations or let me know what you thought of these if you check them out!

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