The Soul of Power
Waking Land #3
by Callie Bates
Del Rey, $28.00, 459 pp
Published: June 2019
This medieval world is pretty typical with typical political machinations and warring magicians. In this world, the magic seems to originate with the land, a sort of “natural” magic with implications that the users need to stay in balance with the land. In the past there was a king with no magical abilities who saw an opportunity to destroy everyone with such ability leaving no one to challenge him. With magics outlawed, anyone born with it was forced to hide it. In the first book, we met a young woman, Elanna, with an ability to interact directly with nature: growing things, rocks, water and who-knows-what-else. It was a coming-of-age story while she figured out what she could do and wrestled with whether she should. The second book focused on her love, Jahan, and his trials coming to grips with his own magical power. This third book is from the point-of-view of their Queen Sophy a young woman who struggles with a huge responsibility: unite two countries long separated by politics and magic.
Elanna woke up magic all over the land in the first book. People who had no magic are now discovering new talents which brings new terror as their family and neighbors react with fear. But Elanna is gone now and can’t help; captured by the Emperor who intends to make an example of her and demonstrate his intention to wipe magic out. Sophy is left with her crown and the need to protect two nations who do not trust each other, and no Elanna to reassure the people. She has to navigate the minefield of court politics and decide who she still trusts all while hiding a huge secret from her people, her ministers and even those she loves. This secret could be her political salvation but it could also be the end of her happiness. But that secret might be nothing to another secret Sophy doesn’t know she even has at first; and this one will be the answer to everything that Elanna’s magic has woken something in Sophy that no one could have predicted.
The author has certainly grown in the telling of this last story; this was more enjoyable than the first two. The first person point-of-view certainly keeps the reader firmly in the present and is used effectively. The characters and plot are all; the world-building almost non-existent. I’m okay with that I found Sophy a very sympathetic character and her coming-of-age kept my interest engaged. A very nice wrap-up to this trilogy. ~~ Catherine Book