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Scent of Magic by Andre Norton

Review by Caleyna

I picked up Scent of Magic as a part of my quest to "get to the roots of fantasy". I've heard great things about Andre Norton and wanted to try her out for myself, especially since there are not that many women who contributed during the "old days" of fantasy. This book was written in the past few years so it was not really a part of the heritage of fantasy, but it was by a "fantasy legend" so I figured it would be worth the read.

Now I'm wondering how Norton was given the title "Fantasy Legend". I did not enjoy this book at all. I found the writing to be extremely disjointed and choppy, making the whole thing have an amateurish feel. I didn't even feel like finishing the book, but wanted to eventually review it so I forced myself to the end.

The premise of the book is sort of interesting I suppose, but ended up being very lamely executed. The main character is an orphan girl with a gift--an extraordinary sense of smell. In fact, her sense of smell is so extraordinary that she can smell magic. I've never heard of a concept quite like that before and was looking forward to seeing how Norton would work it all out. Unfortunately she didn't work it out very well at all. The plot was weak and full of cliches (orphan girl meets likeable princess and gets involved in a plot to thwart the Dark One) so the smelling of magic just seemed like a really poorly thought out plot device that turned a rather bad book into a downright silly book.

With poor writing and an even poorer plot, not to mention underdeveloped characters, I can't give this book any more than 2 out of 5 amulets. I think I need to end my quest to "get to the roots of fantasy". If this book is any indication, I'll be better off sticking to the more innovative books written by the authors of today.


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