So far during Fantasy Month, we discussed favorite fantasy books, fantasy creatures, and genres and subgenres. I even revealed the cover for my upcoming portal fantasy, This Cursed Flame! So what can we possibly talk about today?
You got it!
Today I want to talk about some of my favorite magic systems. But first, let me define how I view magic systems. To me, they are the foundation of how magic works in a story and the way that magic influences the characters and plot. If done poorly, they can be unbelievable and cliche. But when done well, they can be incredibly exciting and prompt great daydreams!
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
I mentioned this one in my favorite fantasy books, and there’s a good reason for that. The biggest reason I love the book (I’ve only gotten through book one so far), besides the incredible worldbuilding, is the magic system!
In this series, magic is based on the “stormlight” from High Storms. It’s still a little vague to me what High Storms actually are, but the magic is light-based and storm-based. Without spoilers, they use stormlight to charge spheres, which they use as money (uncharged, dun spheres are almost worthless), and they have legends of Shardbearers who can use the stormlight to fight and power armor and weapons, as well as unique abilities only those with stormlight can wield.
I love elemental magic, which is apparently not that big in publishing. But I love the idea of elements (old, new, anything) being used as magic, to give characters abilities and strength… and perhaps also weaknesses. The Avatar and Legend of Korra series were my first big forays into this magic system, and to this day they are some of my truest fandom loves.
Okay, I have trouble finding this one, so I don’t have many examples. But I LOVE magic systems based around baking and baked goods. The only book I can really think of at the moment is “The Cupcake Witch,” by Poppy Lawless, which involved a baker who finds magic recipes and begins baking spells for the town. And as much as I loved the premise, it was too short (novella) and I hungered for more. *ba-dum-chh*
I also have a writer friend currently writing a middle grade cupcake witch story *ahem* which I need in my hands ASAP! *ahem*
PS, if you know any good books or series involving baking magic, please tell me! I need them!
Orpheum by D.S. Murphy and This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab sort of have this? Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger duology has a violinist as a protagonist, but the magic there isn’t based around the music, which is what I really mean in this category.
But I love a magic system based around music. A magic that uses music to cast spells or do great things. As a long-time musician (pianist for… 23 years now?), I have a soft spot for stories that involve music in some way, even better if they are fantasy.
Again, I need more of these, so please share!
I’m thinking specifically Shadowshaper here, by Daniel Jose Older. Imagine being able to draw things to life! Let’s get some more of these, as well. 🙂
There are so many more magic systems out there: color-based magic like in The Color Alchemist books by Nina Walker, classic werewolf or vampire magic, ghost stories, mermaid stories, fae and faeries… but I had to focus in on a few I LOVE today, even though I love many others as well. In particular, I wanted to highlight the one super unique system from Brandon Sanderson and a couple I rarely see but want to see more, the baking and music magic.
Now, I want to know your favorite types of magic and magic systems! Tell me some of yours below, and if you know any good baking or music magic books, tell me those, too! Let’s talk!