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