Book Review: Lynn Kurland’s Gift of Magic

Posted June 27, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Lynn Kurland’s Gift of Magic

Gift of Magic


Lynn Kurland

fantasy, historical fiction, romance that was published by Berkley on January 3, 2012 and has 310 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Love Came Just in Time, Tapestry, Stardust of Yesterday, One Enchanted Evening, One Magic Moment, From This Moment On, Spellweaver, All For You, Roses in Moonlight, Dreams of Lilacs, Ever My Love

Sixth in the Nine Kingdoms fantasy adventure series revolving around the surviving children of a black mage. The focus is on Ruith and Sarah as they quest for the lost spells of Gair of Ceangail and save the Nine Kingdoms.

My Take

It’s all in the best style of fairy tales with major characters living a peasant’s life who turn out to be princesses and princes, and each has some major baddie after them. The twist is that the princess/prince is perfectly willing to hunt their own food and build their own fires as they continue on their quest.

It seems that Sarah is an intelligent perso,n so why would she purposely evade two separate spells meant to keep her safe when there’s a nutso-whacko witch after her??

It’s interesting to read the diplomatic maneuvering that Sìle and Miach use in manipulating Morag, although the Ruith and Sarah’s journeying is somewhat confusing — I suspect because I haven’t yet read Spellweaver, the fifth in the series.

It’s a series of unexpected attacks, support and betrayal from unexpected sources, and royals with unexpected reality.

This is definitely a series you want to read in order and without too much time between novels. It can be confusing and sometimes vague, but Kurland creates charismatic characters you can’t help but love, and it certainly does NOT lack action!

The Story

Sarah of Doìre knows the pattern of spells is no accident. With each page, each powerful rune, she and Ruith are being led somewhere, to someone — but by whom, she cannot tell. Her gift of sight only allows her to see the spells themselves, not the person behind them.

A weakness that leaves them woefully unprepared for the adversaries they’ll face. One they cannot back away from, for Ruith’s father’s spells would plunge the Nine Kingdoms into an eternity of darkness if Gair’s magic fell into the wrong hands.

But as they pursue the final spells — acquiring strange companions, welcome allies, and unexpected foes along the way — Sarah and Ruith realize that their true quest has only just begun. The real enemy is closer, darker, and more power hungry than they ever imagined; and until he is defeated, the fate of the Nine Kingdoms hangs in dire peril.

The Characters

Prince Ruithneadh “Ruith” of Ceangail is a powerful mage with the ability to shapeshift, Morgan’s older brother, and the youngest son of Gair, “the most notorious black mage in the history of the Nine Kingdoms”. His mother was Princess Sarait of Tòrr Dòrainn. King Sìle of Tòrr Dòrainn is Ruith and Morgan’s elven grandfather; Brèagha his grandmother. Rùnach and Keir are other brothers.

Sarah, a dreamweaver with the gift of Seeing, intends to return the favor from Spellweaver. And Sarah has learned she is not the daughter of the witchwoman Seleg but the daughter of Sorcha and Athair of Cothromaiche. Queen Leaghra is Sorcha’s aunt, and she’s married to King Fréam of Bruadair. Franciscus, the alemaster of Doìre — and Sarah’s grandfather!, is himself the grandson of King Seannair of Cothromaiche. Daniel of Doìre is not her evil brother.

Soilléir of Cothromaiche is a master wizard who lives in Buidseachd and plays keeper of the spells of essence changing; he’s also Sarah’s cousin.

The crown prince of of Tòrr Dòrainn is…
Làidir, and his sons include Iarann the oldest and Thoir the youngest. They’re also cousins to the children of Gair of Ceangail.

A group of Sarah’s friends include…
Ned, Sarah’s farm boy; Master Oban, a wizard; and, Seirceil of Coibhneas.

King Mochriadhemiach “Miach” of Neroche is to be married to Mhorghain “Morgan“, Ruith’s younger sister. [Miach’s parents were Queen Desdhemar and King Anghmar of Neroche. I think.] Ruith and Miach’s childhood history continues to haunt their reception everywhere. Nemed and Mansourah are Miach’s brothers.

Nicholas of Lismòr is the wizard king of Diarmailt. Tarbh and Ruathar are shapechanging horses. King Uachdaran is king of the dwarves. Lord Cuirmear of Taigh Hall is pleased to thwart Morag. The extremely rude, somewhat nasty Ardan of Ainneamh is one of the elves who helps.

The bastard sons of Gair include…
Droch, Urchaid of Saothair, and possibly Wehr of Wrekin. Amitàn of Ceangail is one of the bastards’ sons.

Queen Morag of An-uallach is determined to suck the magic out of every person capable of holding magic. Everyone wonders how her husband, Prince Phillip, has stayed with her.

The Cover and Title

The cover is bright in its colors and scattered flowers. Very painterly with a fairy tale feel in the elaborate castle nestled into the mountains in the background, and Ruith clad for travel, taking a very unbalanced step from behind a gigantic maple tree, his sword held upright, and a look of concentration on his face.

The title has both pluses and minuses as a Gift of Magic simply is, and it is up to each practitioner as to whether it is black or good.