Monday, November 19, 2012

Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan

Phil and Fee Albion come from a long line of stage magicians and they're exceptionally good at their craft.  When the London Blitz begins, their parents join the war effort to put their skills of illusion to good use, but Phil and Fee are sent off to the country, much to Phil's frustration.  Out in the country Phil makes a shocking discovery - a school of real magicians.  If only she could convince them to use their powers to help England win the war!

So this was all working fine for me until the end, where it seriously fell apart.  We have two sisters, one who is sweet and gentle and romantic (Fee) and one who is brave and headstrong and logical (Phil).  Phil is able to discover the magician's hidden college because an ancestor of Phil and Fee's was a magician who was cast out of the college.

Fee occupies herself romanticizing about living in the country and then falling in love with one of the magicians, who immediately falls in love with her too, but tis all in vain!  For the magicians can never marry or leave the college.  For a rather vague a suspicious reason that Phil does not completely buy.

Spoilers ahead

Phil, meanwhile, is determine to do her part for the war effort and busies herself with organizing a home guard made up of the locals, and works on convincing the magicians to use their powers to fight.  They refuses, as they have live violence free lives.  Phil is a fiercely determine sort of girl, and someone telling her no one time or 20 is not going to deter her.  She feels passionately about her country and wants to help anyway she can.  This is important to know, as if makes what happens at the end all the more weird.  This is the first thing we learn about Phil, and it's reinforced over the course of the entire book - nothing is going to stop her trying to protect her country or the people she loves.  Nothing.

Phil's romantic interest is Arden, a powerful, sulky magician, who tried to kill Phil when he first saw her, which lucky for all involved, didn't work because the Essence (magic the wizards can control which is drawn from the earth) can't hurt Phil or Fee.  It has no effect of them.  Arden and Phil find each other excessively annoying, which of course means they are destined to fall in love at some point, which they do.  Laura Sullivan did a good job of showing how their feelings for each other change.  As they get to know each other better, they come to respect the other's characteristics and dedication.

Just when it seems the two might get together, Arden is put in the very awkward position of being asked to seduce one of the evil female magicians from Germany who is trying to wipe out all the English magicians.  Arden, who would do anything for the college as Phil would do anything for England, does so.  There was a lot of seducing.  A lot of caressing.  More than I really needed, thank you.  Ick.  Phil sees them together, misunderstandings abound, and we're almost at the end of the story.

Arden, due to the seducing, knows when the German magicians will attack, so they are able to prepare.  Phil has her home guard circled up outside the college, because the German magicians are stronger than the English one, since they drain people of their power (bad), but are not immune to guns.  Arden begs Phil to leave, he can't bear the thought of her in danger.  Phil, of course, refuses.  So Arden does something that makes absolutely no sense based on the entire rest of the book: he restores Phil's power, under the reasoning that once her powers are restored, she won't be immune to the Essence anymore and will have to hide.

 #1 - Phil would never run away and hide no matter what - you know this Arden, it was one of those things you were reflecting on about why you love her so much.  #2 - Phil SAID she did not want to have magical powers.  Arden asked before.  She said no.  SHE SAID NO.  And then Arden forced them on her to suit his own need.  I found that incredibly disturbing.  It seemed like such a violation, especially since there had been a lot of magic/sexual references throughout the book, so the Essence before forced on Phil against her will was kind of like rape.  And afterwards Phil is all messed up and can hardly handle all the power in her and accidentally kills a bunch of people, bad magicians, but also her own home guard.  So.  That was kind of a downer ending.  And she did not seem appropriately upset with Arden for doing this to her.

So things were going along just fine but that thank you.  This is a start to a series, but I'm not interested in reading any more.

Delusion comes out January 8, 2013.

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