Review: “Magna’s Plea” by Cherie Reich

magnasplea_cheriereichFinal Rating:  oneandahalfcupscropped cups of very bland tea.

Boring, predictable, and otherwise unremarkable. What little plot manages to exist around enormous plot holes Reich leaves is the same cookie-cutter “magical medieval kingdom goes to war with another magical medieval kingdom but it saved by one special individual” plot I’ve seen a dozen times before. The only part of the book which showed a little independence from the pack is that it had a female protagonist, but even this is watered down. She rails against a lot of unspoken sexism which is never really challenged by the author, and this trend of the author having a passive voice continues as Reich misses several opportunities to make this book special by having characters act outside of their stereotypes.

Reich also falls into the infamous fantasy trap of replacing the nouns (or pronouns) for everyday things with made-up terms. For example, a horse might become a “girmor” or a rabbit becomes a “iluer”, when really these things are exactly the same as they are in our world. It’s trap a lot of fantasy authors fall into and I was disappointed to see yet another book fall victim to this. The various curses and “colorful” phrases used by the characters felt very ham-fisted as a result of handling this trope poorly.

One positive thing I will say is that the formatting of this book for Kindle is excellent. Reich also seems to have a very attentive editor (or is skilled herself) when it comes to grammar and the other technical aspects of writing; everything was very easy to follow and looked good on the page. Sadly, this did not make up for the plot, but I’ve read enough free Kindle books to know how precious good formatting is so this really does get a genuine thumbs-up from me. (I also really like the cover art.)

Overall, “Magna’s Plea” strikes me as a decent framework for a much richer, deeper fantasy story that I hope someday Reich feels comfortable telling. As it stands, the book felt to me like it was just a wasted opportunity. I truly believe that Reich has a lot of potential, and I hope someday to see that potential fulfilled. Perhaps this is what happens in the rest of her “The Fate Challenges” series. I hope so.

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