Book Review: Magnify by Stefanie Lozinski

Note: I will be taking a hiatus next week as I will be traveling. Feel free to comment, email, etc. in that time, but do be aware that I won’t be able to respond between the 13th and the 23rd or so. I look forward to reconnecting again then! Now to resume the regularly scheduled programming…

It’s book review time again. Today we’re looking at Magnify, the first book in Stefanie Lozinski’s Storm & Spire series.

What is it about?

The dragons have fled the skies.

A noble House is clinging to life.

The God of gods is rising.

As the Envoy of the Four Kingdoms, Wes has had his purpose decided since birth: sacrifice the treasures of the people to the dragon gods, and they will keep Kaveryth safe.

For five years, he’s been forced to watch his Kingdom fall into ruin while carrying an unbearable grief of his own. The Elders insist that they must continue to be faithful to the Dracodei, but Wes is beginning to doubt that their protectors are holding up their end of the bargain.

Despite his misgivings, he continues to fulfill his duty—until he meets a misunderstood dragon who offers him a choice for the first time in his life.

Will he have the courage to make the sacrifice that truly matters?

Storm & Spire is a young adult Christian fantasy series, perfect for readers who enjoy fast-paced storytelling, fantastical lands, and devious dragons.

Review

Let’s get my biggest difficulty with this book out of the way first: the pacing. All of my struggles with this book came down to how quickly things moved along, from character development to choices made and events unfolding to learning about the world, everything felt like watching the world pass through a car window while you’re driving down the interstate. Nowhere did it feel like we got to settle in one place and really learn about what was happening, get a solid feel for the world, or process things with the character. Even when the characters were forced to sit and think, their thoughts didn’t seem to have a believable flow but a rush toward the conclusion the author wanted them to reach. This book wasn’t given breathing room, and I think every aspect suffered as a result.

That said, I think this could have been a great book had it been given that breathing room. The characters are foundationally solid and their arcs could have been really impactful given more time to develop, it seems like the politics and other worldbuilding elements were well thought through and just needed more time to be clearly explained through the story, and the themes of doubt and faith could have been really strong with the character arcs drawn out to better complement them. All of the pieces were definitely there, and I wouldn’t go so far as to say I didn’t enjoy this book, but I wish that everything had been given time to be fully explored and smoothed out into something that flowed better and was easier to follow.

One thing I did particularly appreciate was the subject of arranged marriage in this book; it has clear reasons behind it within the world (one thing that was well-explained in terms of worldbuilding), the match is clearly a good one–and the characters admit as much, and the main character’s reasons for struggling with the arrangement are more reasonable than “I don’t love you” or even “I’m in love with someone else.” Both parties take their responsibilities to their people seriously and are willing to prioritize the well-being of others over their own convenience, and I love to see that–especially in the commonly self-centered YA category.

Overall, this was not a bad book, it just needed more space to grow more naturally.

3 stars


Have you read this book? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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