Title: The Price of MagicAuthor: KJ Taylor
Publisher: Black Phoenix Publishing Collective
Date of Publication: December 3rd 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
“You are here because you were born different. Born with a gift ... and a curse.”
Heroes come in all shapes. Upright, manly, sword-wielding…. Or small and weedy with walking sticks. Unless you look hard enough, you might miss these ones. Pip’s on a journey to find out just what he can do—in magic and in life. Big things are expected of him. . And he’s about to be tested Can he deliver?
This new Young Adult work by acclaimed Australian author KJ Taylor is a stand-alone novella about confronting our challenges and celebrating our differences. Meet Pip and Seress, Ana and Clemence, Jinx and Hex, and follow their quest to find and stop the mad mage who is threatening magic's very existence. KJ Taylor asks us to think about the choices we make, and the price that we pay for them. For anyone who’s ever been intimidated by those around them, here's a heart-warming story of one boy who isn’t content to be defined by others.
Review:Pip, short for Pipsqueak, has been small and weak his whole life, but in his world, a child born with a disability can be a source for celebration. Pip is a mage, and as with all mages, he has both a Gift, and a Price. When Pip leaves his small village and heads for the Mage's Institute at age 15, he is excited about the possibilities before him. When he and his Master are sent on a quest to bring in a rogue Mage, he faces the possibility of living without his Price, but without his disability, would he be himself at all?
This novella looks at disability in a completely different light. While it is undoubtedly a burden for those who are affected in Pip's world, it is simply the cost paid for power, and it is not possible to have magic without having a price. For some, like Pip, it's physical limitations, for some, mental illness or neurological disorders, for others, chronic and potentially terminal illness. But rather than focusing on characters' difficulties, it focuses on their strengths and the way they overcome their limitations to save the world.
I liked the magic system and the idea that power is not just granted on its own, but comes with a price. It makes it all the more valuable that it's not freely given.
This charming novella is worth reading and would perhaps appeal to a younger YA audience, but some readers may be offended by some of the terms used in the book (specific terms that I noticed - dwarf, cripple, nuts - your mileage may vary here).
And I totally want a furniture tree.