Children of Fire - Drew Karpyshyn Four unique children are born under a portent omen, each touched by Chaos in some way. Initially, the story moves through the lives of all four, leaping through time as they grow and deal with varied situations that shape them towards their destiny. Their paths cross in various ways until they reach adulthood and then dark forces are unleashed...

I've played the Bioware games Karpyshyn has been heavily involved in as a writer and I have read one of his Star Wars books, as well as his Mass Effect books. With those, I found that his writing was not as strong as the ideas and characters behind it and concluded that Karpyshyn works best when his ideas and characters can be visually brought to life. Perhaps he'd do a better job with the comic book stories.

However, Children of Fire is Karpyshyn's first novel of his own creation, and I'm always curious to see what a creator can do when freed from the constraints of an established franchise. So far, I'm very pleased. I don't feel this book is a strong entry into the epic fantasy genre, however, it has a lot of potential.

Actually, considering how I feel about epic fantasy classics like Eye of the World, Children of Fire is very good. The characters are strong, unique and memorable, and there's little time wasted on too much exposition. I was worried at first, with the format of travelling through the children's lives as they aged, but Karpyshyn did a good job of telling only what was needed at each given point in their lives.

There are some typical fantasy tropes used, such as talismans, chosen ones, dark lords, fellowships and seemingly evil ruling bodies. I liked the latter two items though, because they did not quite follow the conventional 'rules.' When the four children cross paths, their interaction is not predictable, and the Order, who seeks out people who wield Chaos magic, does so for a good reason.

I did enjoy the magical aspect of the story. There is a lot of lore behind it and varying opinions on those with magical abilities, but I liked that Karpyshyn doesn't use the magic as a crutch to easily get his characters out of situations. In fact, the moments when magic is used serves to advance the plot and develop the characters themselves.

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