Book Review: Yesterday’s Magic by Pamela F. Service
My obsession with Arthurian legend is rearing its head again and this time there are dragons. Yesterday’s Magic by Pamela F. Service is the third book in the New Magic series. I was surprised to find that this book was a recent one. Yesterday’s Magic was published in 2008 while the first two books of the series were published back in the mid 80’s. Talk about a gap! The fourth and final book of the series, Earth’s Magic, was published in 2009. Goodreads lists the first two books of the series as a single entity and labels the New Magic series as a trilogy. However, I ended up reading separate books and thus to me there a four books in this series. Your mileage may vary. If you can find the first two books smashed together, you can treat it like one book.
King Arthur and Queen Margaret are getting married and gifts are pouring in from the noble guests attending the celebration, including a piece of rare ancient plastic in the form of a pink lunchbox with Heather’s name on it. Queen Margaret ends up gifting Heather with the lunchbox, not knowing the danger she was putting the girl in. If Merlin hadn’t been so distracted, he might have realized something was wrong before it was too late. Now Heather has been kidnapped and spirited away out of Britain by Morgan Le Fay. Merlin will do anything to save Heather, including waking a sleeping dragon and traveling half way around the world to find her.
I enjoyed the first two books of the series very much but I have to say that Yesterday’s Magic is my favorite so far. The over a decade long gap between Tomorrow’s Magic and this books seems to have served Service well. (Lol.) The writing in this book is smoother than the earlier volumes. Time has allowed the author to hone her writing skills and it shows in this book. It’s much better written and lacks the fits and lulls that made her writing a little slow before.
At the end of the last book, Tomorrow’s Magic, we found Merlin coming to terms with the new magic of the devastated world he now finds himself in and battling back Morgan’s evil horde. Merlin and Heather get together as a couple and the two continue to evolve their magic. Heather’s animal and people based magic grows in this book, expanding into the ability to communicate with several surviving people around the world. The world is not as dead as they once feared. The mind-speech serves Heather well, allowing her to find a few friends and allies in a harsh world.
Merlin heads out on the awaken dragon to find Heather but their friends Welly and Troll won’t be left behind. (It’s so cute how Arthur doesn’t want Merlin going alone. I just want to pet them all!) The group travel across to France, where they just miss Heather and Morgan as the evil witch leaves for India. But Merlin finds that the ways to the Otherworlds are still open and the fey and gods still roam the earth. After a terrifying encounter with a death goddess, they manage to retrieve Heather and the group heads ever eastward in an effort to return home and get back to King Arthur.
Merlin decides after they get Heather back to continue eastward, rather than turn back westward and risk running into a perusing Morgan. The wizard knows that the earth is round and that they can return to Britain by traveling around the world on the dragon. Of course, you and I both know what a silly idea that is but the trip is cut in half by some new friends in North America and the group finds that the gods are very much alive there too. All around the world, magic is awakening as the earth slowly heals from the damage humans had wrought.
Arthur is not important in these stories. He’s a background character at best. This is a bit of a disappointment but since Merlin is my favorite character out of the legends, I can ignore the fact that Service ignores Arthur. Each book in this series has a two year timespan between. This book is a return to the pattern and tone we saw in the first story, The Winter of Magic’s Return. The quest to find Heather mirrors their original quest to find Arthur. The second book, Tomorrow’s Magic, focused heavily on Heather and her internal conflict with her emerging magic. The third, this review for Yesterday’s Magic, sees the characters growing up and coming into their own both magic-wise and personally. It will be interesting to find how the characters and situation have changed for the final tale, Earth’s Magic.
Yesterday’s Magic is my favorite out of the three books I’ve read of the New Magic series. I can tell that both the author and the characters have matured a bit by this point. Although, I’m eternally glad I found the series after Service had published the new books. I hate coming into a series only to discover it isn’t finished and the author hadn’t put out a new book in years. Drive me nuts. Yesterday’s Magic was a well-paced, magical trip across a world that could just possibly be what ours becomes if we’re not careful and I definitely enjoyed riding along on the dragon for it.