Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What Am I Reading? The Sum Of All Men

I recently had to clean under some bookshelves, which required moving all of the books (sorry, not Super Woman, as mentioned in a previous post). And as I moved the books, I came across a series I had started reading a really long time ago but never continued (so long ago, all I remember is that I liked it). This is The Runelords series by David Farland. So, in my desire to get back to reading again (darn baby making life difficult...can't read while she's in my arms, no - she has to grab and try to destroy everything in my hands...EVERYTHING), I decided to re-read this series, starting with the first book in the series (of course - have to start at the beginning!), The Sum of All Men. I just hope the baby will allow me to at least get through one book a month (that little voice in my head is laughing).

OK, OK. I promise to stop with all the darn parentheses. I declare it proof that my children have scattered my brain so severely that I can't keep my train of thought for anything.

Back on topic: The Sum of All Men. I'm not that far into the book yet, but it doesn't take much to draw my attention and make me think. One of the key things of this series is the endowments that other people receive. Want more wit and stamina? You can have them. Only if you're willing to pay the price, though.

And this is what reminded me that magic always has a price. It's one of those rules of magic in fantasy. There should always be a cost, especially if it's powerful magic. The greater the magic, the greater the cost. It's what makes magic interesting, and also what keeps magic users honest - someone who can become all powerful without any sacrifice isn't all that interesting.

In The Sum of All Men, we learn pretty quickly what it costs to add endowments, aside from money that is. "It was no promise of love, but then Myrimma was a pragmatic woman who had taken the beauty of her sisters, the wisdom of her mother. Having taken these endowments, she would have to assume responsibility for her impoverished kin. She knew the burden of power" (Farland 31). So to gain her extra beauty and wit, she took it from her family, sisters now ugly and mother witless. In my opinion, that's a great price to have for this type of magic in this novel.

This wonderful way that people need to sacrifice for magic in this world kindles the desire in me to think up my own unique cost for magic in some of my own work. I hope I can be just as inventive in the future.

Farland, David. The Sum of All Men. New York: Tor, 1998.

NEXT UP: Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic - Midsummer Life derailment yet again, so change of plans.