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Review: Politics, magic collide in book two of 'The Walking Land'

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In 2017, Callie Bates made her debut with “The Waking Land” series. The first book, “The Waking Land” follows Elana Valtai as she learns the truth about her world and her connection to the land. Bates created strong, lively characters in a fantastical magical world. Book two in the series, “The Memory of Fire,” hit bookstands this summer and follows Elana’s love interest, Jahan Korakides.

Initially, it may be disappointing to find out “The Memory of Fire” is told from Jahan’s point of view. Elana is a strong female warrior worthy of the title “wonder woman.” Readers picking up book two may have been hoping to find out how Elana would continue to grow into her powers as Caveadear as she and Queen Sophie worked to free Caeris and continue its’ magical revolution.

Once overcoming the initial disappointment, readers will discover Jahan has a troubled past. His life in Caeris has been strangely freeing, especially once Elana wakens the land as she comes into her powers as Caveadear. With this awakening and subsequent magical revolution, Jahan has been able to use the powers he painfully has had to keep hidden in the magic-averse land of Paladis, where he was born and raised.

Much of “The Memory of Fire” dances along the lines of a political thriller and personal discovery story. As news of Caeris’s magical revolution spreads, its existence is threatened by its former political ally, Paladis. Since Jahan was originally sent to Paladis as an ambassador, he takes it upon himself to return in an attempt to tame the tensions now brewing. He’s forced to confront his past and people who now consider him an enemy as his magical talents and the change in his political leanings are revealed.

Just as she did in “The Waking Land,” Bates describes the people, the land and political beliefs in great detail. While Caeris feels a bit like medieval Great Britain, Paladis is a mash-up of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. A seaport with rolling hills that hide secret passages and magical temples, readers will get swept up in the secrets of the land and the political drama quickly unfolds when backs are stabbed, nasty political takeovers are attempted, and magic begins to run through the land once more.

With “The Memory of Fire,” book two in The Waking Land series, Bates has begun to expand a beautiful, magical, fantastical world. By the final page, readers will discover they have only begun to scratch the surface of this world filled with a deep and rich magical history.

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