In Susan Forest’s Flights of Marigold, sisters seek a prophesied relic in a land torn by war and dwindling magic.
In this second series title, the Shangril empire endures cataclysmic change. The seven kingdoms fall to a single king after he destroys the relics that provided a link between their world and the afterlife.
In this setting, Meg and Janat are sisters on the run. Their magie lineage (they can imbibe spells) paints a target on their backs. When they reach the end of the world, they find their long lost, third sister, Rennika. Politics and war force the trio to undertake an impossible mission: to find the stone that will reconnect magiels with the afterlife.
Bad habits anchor the story, breathing drama into the sisters’ lives. Each sister’s behavior places them in dire straits: Janat overdoes it on specialized potions, Meg struggles with being the “good sister,” and Rennika hides her lineage and abilities, pretending to be less-than. They balance survival with feeding such addictions, and their struggles are dynamic and sympathetic.
Flights of Marigold is best read in series order: the context for its world, magic, and characters is not reiterated, and for those unfamiliar with Shangril’s features, the book’s transitions may prove jarring. This is true, for example, when the magiel’s magic causes the sisters to jump around in time.
Though episodic and of epic length, the book still maintains its focus on the sisters and their goals above all else. Tantalizing reveals about the missing, presumed destroyed, relic result in glimpses of the larger series story, poising it to continue in subsequent volumes.
In the epic fantasy Flights of Marigold, mental health issues arise in a troubled land.
John M. Murray
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