The War Against Love by Matt Posner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy Reading Level: Young Adult
Disclosure: I received a free Kindle version of this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Prepare, Simon. This is no school exercise. It is a fight for your life.
Attacked in New York City by vicious members of the Nazi magicians' cabal Gott im Himmel, Simon and Goldberry are drawn into a deadly war that could destroy them both. As they travel across Europe with their mentor Dr. Solomon Archer, the young wizards must survive vicious foe after vicious foe. There is no time for love… but how can Simon resist the tempestuous beauty Ana Vorkina, daughter of the all-powerful Arch-Mage of Prague? And even if he can win her heart, will the ferocious threats they face drive them apart?
Background information: The author has written a very interesting FAQ about this book available here. I would suggest you take the time to read it; he does a fairly good job at leaving out spoilers, but if you want to play it safe, wait until after you’ve read the book. This is the 3rd book in the School of the Ages series; I read and reviewed the first two books – The Ghost in the Crystal and Level Three’s Dream – in late April, 2012. You can see the reviews by clicking on the links on the names. Or you can search my blog for late in the month of April – there is also a Q&A with Matt Posner to be found here, in May.
My Thoughts: I’ve mentioned in the review of the first book in the series that this is a much darker series than many YA fantasies – I would put it on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy for darkness, in many ways. There are moments of lightheartedness, but overall this is a grim situation in which Simon finds himself, starting right at the beginning. Posner has mentioned that there are only a very few people whom he guarantees will survive to see the end of the series, if that gives you an idea as to how dark these books are.
Posner does some serious experimentation with this book, including a chapter that reads like a screenplay, and additional chapters told from other points of view. There is more background information given about Simon’s family, we again meet his grandmother (who is awesome by the way), and there are new friends and enemies to be had. Delphine is just adorable, and the Jonathan twins are evil incarnate; I also quite like Miss Chatterjee. We get more information about the enigmatic Corby Crow, about whom I’ve been wondering since the beginning. Again the issue with the pillars comes up – again they are numbered at six when in the first book they are numbered as seven, and seven attributes are named. I’m not sure why there is this ongoing confusion about the pillars, but there you have it.
My favorite part of the book, without question, was the reaction to Corby’s grandmothers’ herbal mixture that he provided to Goldberry. The comments of the chemistry students, the reactions of those who had to drink it – it was absolutely priceless and I laughed so hard I chased off my cat. I possibly have a bit more of an idea as to what Russian medicine is like, as my husband has told me horror stories about the nastiness of the herbal medicines (which is how to tell if they work – the nastier they smell and taste, the more efficacious) and so forth, so I had that little extra bit of personal amusement to add to the mix.
Book four is to be called Simon Myth. I am not sure when Mr. Posner hopes to have it released, other than sometime in 2013. I will definitely be eagerly awaiting it; I absolutely love these books and can’t recommend them strongly enough. Go check them out!
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