Review Blog

May 03 2010

Time of Trial by Michael Pryor

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Random House, 2009. ISBN: 9781741663082.
(Ages 13 and up). Aubrey is a talented young magician and son of the Albion Prime Minister who has serious problems with 'keeping body and soul together'. Hence, when he is given the Beccaria Cage by Otto Kiefer, Aubrey believes he has undergone a miraculous cure. Later, he is accompanied by his friends George and Caroline to Holmland to find the truth about Dr Tremaine and endeavour to rid the world of Tremaine's evil. In this steampunk setting, history, politics friendship, romance and magic combine.
The fourth of six books in The Laws of Magic series, Time of Trial was one I found difficult to review as a stand-alone title. I also found that I was pernickety about several grammatical errors and imperfect punctuation.
Numerous characters were introduced and the settings were varied. Only after battling to finish the book did I head to the internet to see what else had been written on Pryor's website and this gave me a better perspective of both the time and setting of the series. As I read, I had initially been uncertain of the ages of the characters and the setting of the story, hence some of my struggle! Perhaps I should have looked at his site earlier. Pryor writes for teenage readers with a sound vocabulary and some knowledge of history or the desire to pursue the themes of war and events of the time. This will most likely appeal to readers of fantasy who have progressed from Harry Potter to other books within the genre.
Jo Schenkel, Pilgrim School
Editor's note: Time of trial was a CBCA Notable Book Older Readers 2010.

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