Shadow Grail #1: Legacies Hardcover – Jul 6 2010
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“An enchanting mixture of mystery, romance, magic, and murder.” ―Delia Sherman, author of Changeling
“Lively, suspenseful, and--best of all--skilfully written. Readers will be eager for the next installment.” ―Juliet Marillier, author of Daughter of the Forest--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Rosemary Edghill is a prolific writer in several genres, under her own name and various pseudonyms. She lives in upstate New York with several cats and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
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Top Customer Reviews
That being said, there are plenty of departures from that concept that make accusations of it being derivative pretty much pointless. I can think of a handful of books that share similar starting points. That doesn’t make them all Harry Potter clones.
(Speaking of being derivative, though, I do feel compelled to mention that characters using guns loaded with rock salt seemed lifted wholesale from Supernatural. A clever idea, and I’m sure it’s been done elsewhere as well, but given that I personally saw it done first on that show, it seemed like a bit of a stale idea.)
The story follows Spirit White, and if that name causes you to roll your eyes, just know that it does the same thing for Spirit herself. After her parents and younger sister died in a tragic car crash, she found herself to be a Legacy, someone with a place at Oakhurst Academy. At least one of her parents attended school there, and due to a not-at-all-creepy policy, the school keeps track of all their former students and makes arrangements for their children should anything similarly tragic happen. Oakhurst, as you could tell from previous comments, is a school specifically for children who can do magic, so yes, you have a boarding school full of magic orphans. But students keep disappearing from Oakhurst. Not often, just a few a year. Most of the students accept this as a fact of life.Read more ›
And by "cash-in," I mean that Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill have dug up virtually every "magical school" cliche they could find, and whipped it into a tepid, sluggish stew. "Shadow Grail No. 1: Legacies" suffers from bland characters, a slapped-together plot, and lots of filler stuff about martial arts and the interior decor of the school.
After her family is killed in a car crash, Spirit White is whisked off by a mysterious organization called the Oakhurst Academy -- and no sooner have she and her new friend Loch arrived than they are told by Doctor Ambrosius that this is a special academy for magicians. And he turns them into mice to demonstrate his point. Spirit soon gets used to life there, but seems unable to do any kind of magic.
But as the months go by, Spirit and her friends notice that periodically, a kid or two will go missing -- and the school is covering up these disappearances. Is there some kind of financial scam going on, or is it something more supernatural? Whatever it is, they plan to combine all their powers to make sure it's stopped once and for all.
"Legacies" is one of those books I really wanted to like, only to be forced to read a couple of experienced, respected authors making the book up as they go along. Nothing really happens for the first two-thirds of the book, except vague rumblings of Bad Things A-Comin'. It feels like Lackey and Edghill hadn't really thought up any actual plot, so they just ramble a lot about martial arts, fencing and interior decor.Read more ›
Then she learns of a school for orphans where her parents set up a trust for her in case anything ever happened to them. It is a huge mansion filled with amenities for sports and academics. It's also a place for people with magical abilities.
Spirit believes there's been a mistake. She has no magical powers. It's quite evident during the first day of testing. However, she's a legacy to the school. She must have one; it simply hasn't appeared yet.
Despite its grandeur, Oakhurst thrives on rules. As Spirit's finding her place at the school and amidst all the guidelines, a student goes missing. It might not have made a huge difference, until another student disappears, too.
Spirit and her friends begin to question these disappearances and come to the conclusion that there's something strange going on at Oakhurst. Can they solve the mystery before the same thing happens to yet more students, possibly one of them?
LEGACIES is a fun start to a new series that creates a blend of magic and mystery with a dash of potential romance. Once Spirit and her friends comprehend the danger within the school, they do everything in their power to change the situation. They must unravel layer upon layer of mystery, all while keeping their suspicions to themselves. I loved the double lives they lead and the lengths they go to in order to keep them separate.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I wasn't sure if I'd like this as it is geared towards younger readers, but having read the authors' collaborations before, I thought I'd give it a shot.
I'm glad I did, as I found it an enjoyable read. This is actually more similar to Kelly Armstrong's Darkest Powers series than to Harry Potter, though in all three the youngsters must band together to solve problems the adults around them can't or won't handle. However, in this series the children are all orphans, are kept isolated at the school, and have no sources of information about magic - or anything else! - except what the school provides. So,can the school itself be trusted?
I was very caught up in reading the book and would like to read the next one when it comes out - but I did not immediately re-read it and I haven't found myself dwelling on the characters or the world created.
The plot, again, was pretty good, but half way through the book, I kept getting bored as the same things happened over and over again. She went to class, she speaks to her friends in secrecy as Oakhurst also likes to pit the kids against each other, she was tutored in martial arts, and the next day it started all over again. The characters weren't all that developed either, and seemed stereotypical. But what nagged me the most was the very end. I seriously believed the trouble brewed from the inside, and while it still might, the bad guys...I just didn't get it. There was no mention that the bad guys (I don't want to give it away) actually exist, and to have the group suddenly figure out what was making the kids disppear didn't mash well at all. Plus the Dr. after listening to their explanations of what happened, didn't even react so much as to slap them on the back and say well done. He wasn't concerned at all, and didn't offer them any explanation of why the adults didn't or couldn't figure out for themselves what was going on in their own territory. I normally like Lackey's books, but I won't be reading the next in this series.
So, does this stand out from the crowd? Um, not particularly. I did enjoy the novel as I was reading it; liked the core group of friends, certainly. And it was refreshingly free of romance (which usually figures heavily in this genre); the fellows in this group are very appealing, but none of the girls were irresistibly drawn to them, or felt the need to be their devoted slaves. Now isn't that a change...
Still, the characters were perhaps a bit underdeveloped, as was the school setting itself. Seemed to me that these kids could get away with a LOT, considering how strictly-run the school was supposed to be.
The main problem, however, is one that affects many fantasy-oriented series books. The author has to provide adequate closure to the individual story, while still leaving enough aspects of the plot/situation open to make the reader curious as to what will happen next. Now, the mystery detailed in this novel is adequately wrapped up, but there really were too many plot holes and unresolved questions at the end (which will presumably be addressed in the next novel) for this to be a really satisfying read.
So, a bit of a mixed review from me. I'm interested enough in the story that I will likely read the second entry, but overall there is nothing about the book to make it stand out from so many other similarly-themed novels. But hey, if you enjoy this type of story, by all means give it a go and see what you think for yourself.
(Oddly enough, while this is book one of the "Shadow Grail" series, this novel gives no indication whatsoever as to what the shadow grail is---I don't think the term was mentioned once in the text.)
The dust jacket isn't bad; again, nothing special but at least it's a little more dynamic than many of the other jackets now on the market.
PS---Okay, there was one GLARING error that annoyed me! The text mentioned "The full moon was almost directly overhead, and the stars were brilliant in the clear night sky. They were so far from any city that the Milky Way was even visible." Now, this scene takes place near the winter solstice. The wintertime Milky Way is fairly dim (compared to the very bright Milky Way visible in the summer sky), and becomes almost impossible to see with even a low level of light pollution. Quite apart from the fact that when there is a brilliant full moon, you really don't see a lot of stars in the sky, you would not see even a TRACE of the Milky Way in a brightly moonlit sky! This is a very basic error and should have been caught in editing.
This was my final attempt to read a recent book by Mercedes Lackey, and the only reason I gave it a chance (having been burned by such half-baked efforts as the terribly under-realized "Wizard of London" and the dull, lackadaisical "Intrigues") is because the book is co-authored by Rosemary Edghill; I don't know, I guess I thought that maybe another author might overcome Lackey's weaknesses. Sadly, it was not to be. Whereas I think that the Potter books are a tad overrated, they're a heck of a lot better than THIS ham-handed ripoff. NOT recommended. I suggest that people who are hungry for immersive, enjoyable fantasy writing give Anne Logston's Shadow series a try instead. Her mischievous, merry-hearted elven thief Shadow is a bracing tonic to the dark dredge that Lackey has been serving up.