A Brush with Magic is an important book to me. You should all read it!
Why did I start reading it?
I brought it from Sonia Leong at a Manchester Comic Con a few years back now and the enthusiasm and love for her characters shone so bright I had to see if I would love them too.
What is it?
A Brush with Magic is an illustrated novel (English light novel) about a sellsword called Rua who saves the mage, Silas, from some bandits and decides to look after him from there, partly because he wants to repay her but mostly because he's a walking disaster and she's worried for his safety. The two go on fantasy adventures together and find out they have something in common they ever expected.
What are the characters like?
Other than our main characters, Silas and Rua, most of the characters come and go. The ones in the last section of the book are interesting if only because they help build an understanding of Silas' character.
Anyone particularly cool?
Even if the other characters come and go the relationship between Rua and Silas carries the book. They are both interesting enough but the time I really came to love them the most was the middle section of the book. The section is from the point of view of one of these characters that come and go but seeing these two from the outside is really interesting and gives you a really unique insight into them. Also Rua is a cute fox lady and Silas is a cute elf boy what more do you need?
What's the bad news?
It starts as a pretty typical fantasy story. After Rua and Silas meet they literally go on the rescue the mayor's daughter quest. It's all to set up a situation where they have to reveal their secrets to each other but that could have happened with any combat situation similar and something a little less...D+D starter mission would have been a bit more interesting. Something that could have tied into the last section, maybe, or maybe even just flipping the gender of the daughter so it's not a literal damsel in distress.
And the good news?
In most Light Novels I complain about lack of art. This is not a complaint I can make about Brush with Magic. You can tell the author loves her story and characters because she has drawn something for near enough every scene. I remember reading the last chapter and thinking to myself "That sounds cute, I want to see it" Flip the page and there it was, drawn for me. I wouldn't be surprised if half the books thickness was down to the art.
I'm also interested in learning more about this world. The author is good at keeping the info flowing in a natural sounding conversation or giving a demonstration while she explains so I learned what I needed to about this world without feeling like I had been info dumped. Learning more about further races and countries that are teased in the book really makes me look forward to the next book.
Would you recommend?
Yes, It's a light-hearted and casual adventure read with some great art to go with it.
Why did you say this was an important book to you?
Suppose I should explain that, huh? A brought a Brush with Magic a while ago at a Manchester Comic Con while I was writing Moon Girl 1. Sonia Leong signed the book I brought and excitedly told me about her characters and world. She was so passionate about it all, she loved her characters so much it made me want to read her book, even when at the time I wasn't much of a reader.
Long story short it was meeting this woman and buying this book that made me think about publishing and where my writing could go. A Brush with Magic is an important book to me because without it planting the seed I wouldn't have taken the steps I have today. I probably wouldn't have carried on with Moon Girl as far as I have. I probably wouldn't have joined the writing group that I go to every month and missed out on the friends I've made there and the confidence I've gained by showing my work there. My writing just...wouldn't be where it is today as I wouldn't have the motivation to improve as much as I have over the past couple of years.
It sounds dramatic but it's not a lie to say that this book changed my life. This blog, this website and the books it's here to showcase wouldn't exist without it.
I'm annoyed at myself that it's taken this long for me to blog about it. This post is my small way of trying to bring attention to something that means a lot to me I hope everyone picks up a copy to enjoy themselves!
Buy it here!
A Brush with Magic wasn't the last time I found something to love at Manchester comic con. I look forward to blogging about others but until then here is my post for the latest Manchester comic con adventure.