Catherine Asaro

Books: Fantasy

The Charmed Sphere (2004)

The Charmed Sphere (2004) [DNF]

I made it to page 57 before giving up on The Charmed Sphere. Chime is a mage who doesn't want to be. Muller is a prince who doesn't seem to care much for ruling. King Daron has decreed that for the good of the kingdom, they must marry. Both, of course, are opposed.

Both, of course, accidentally meet and are attracted to each other. Then they find out their real identities.

And then I gave up.

Going back, it's not that the story was bad, it's that I really didn't want to read about two head strong teenagers fighting something simply because it's what they were told to do. Because of course they're going to fall in love, and of course they're going to get married.

Okay. Fine. But that's not what I wanted to read about. We're almost sixty pages into a fantasy, and we're hardly had any fantasy. Why doesn't Chime want to be a mage? What are her problems? How does magic work that she has problems with it? That's the stuff that interests me, and I wasn't getting any of it.

The Charmed Sphere (2004) [Take Two]

The Charmed SphereIn the kingdom of Aronsdale, the king must be wed to the strongest female mage of his generation. Chime is an untrained mage, unable to control her powers and unwilling to use them, but stronger than any other known mage. Muller is heir to the throne only because a series of accidents have removed all those between him and the crown. Together they must deal with the lives fate has dealt them, and learn to accept their destinies.

This book invoked a strong feeling in me, however, that feeling was the desire to finish the book as fast as possible so I could read something else. It's not that this was a bad book, because it wasn't. Nor was it a poorly written book. I just couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. Chime and Muller both came across as brats at the start of the story, and although they grew up during the course of the story, the interest I felt in them was what you feel when conversation paratrooping. You're curious as to what happened, but not involved with any of the participants.

Which is too bad, because I thought the story was interesting. I just couldn't bring myself to care enough about what happened to any one involved, especially when I was pretty certain that they were all going to survive to live happily ever after.

I also took issue with some of the events in the book. "Dani" has been blind, deaf, and mute since he was six, yet when he miraculous recovers after fourteen years, he speaks not in childish sentences, but like a grown-up. (Never mind the fact that I'm not sure he would have retained even the verbal capacity he had as a child after that many years.) Then, there's the fact that they're willing to accept a probable lunatic as king, and an untrained and uneducated peasant as queen to rule, yet Muller is worried about being rejected because of his screwed up mage abilities? I find that... improbable.

I also found it hard to believe that a matriarchy and a patriarchy could exist independently within the same kingdom, without the values of either rubbing off on each other, OR without the conflict between the two becoming the main theme of the story. Yet these cultural differences are brought up only in passing, and then pretty much shrugged off. I'd rather these ideas hadn't been brought up at all, than to treat them only as a quick solution to a small problem.

Nice cover though.

As I said, the writing wasn't bad, and the story was okay, I just couldn't bring myself to care at all about the characters, nor to feel any concern over their problems and predicaments. So this book was a disappointment, but that disappointment was not really a surprise.

Rating: 4/10