Review Blog

May 10 2011

Hour of need by Michael Pryor

cover image

The Laws of Magic, book 6. Random House, 2011. ISBN: 9781741663105.
Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.
Aubrey, still bearing the label 'traitor son of Albion', is travelling with and caring for Hugo Von Stralick, the ill ex-Holmland spy. They have been observing the evil Dr Tremaine in his current retreat and pondering the presence of many well known magicians, obviously being held against their wishes. When Aubrey's first attempt to rid the world of Tremaine goes awry, he and Hugo endeavour to get closer to the action and are shortly reunited with Madame Zelinka, her Enlightened Ones and George, Sophie and Caroline. From there, the action intensifies with much use of science, magic and teamwork as the heroes battle to save the world from total devastation.
Pryor's conclusion to this great series is filled with some suspense, humour, insights into the machine of war and its purpose or lack thereof. His comments regarding the role of the government are applicable to that of any society at any time in history. He has catered for readers of any gender. Stereotypically, many male readers will love the descriptions of the skyfleet, battles and steampunk creations and females will be satisfied with the development of the various relationships throughout the series. Despite this, Pryor creates strong female characters that are equally as capable in their fields as their male counterparts. He leaves us with the promise of things to come in the state of Albion. The vocabulary and more formal style of language make this series more appropriate for the young adult reader, as does the fact that it shows the 'coming of age' of the protagonist, Aubrey. This is a series I am glad to have gone back to read in its entirety, as the author has cleverly crafted not just the tale itself but the character development has been realistic and satisfying.
Jo Schenkel

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