Okay it’s time for a little hocus pocus, cos I’m gonna be talking magic systems today. I was very much inspired by Merphy Napier’s video– which I *definitely* recommend, if you’re looking for hard magic systems (and excellent content in general) especially since I lean more towards soft systems. For some reason, the mysterious fantasy of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones have always appealed to me more (although, for various reasons, those magic systems didn’t quite make the list, soooo that was a quick honorary mention 😉). Also, there will be other notable series missing- either cos I’ve never read or didn’t get into the series enough to see it develop (don’t expect Wheel of Time for instance). Alrighty, *abracadabra* *allakhazam*, without further ado- onto the list!
Mistborn– I’m starting off with one of the few hard magic systems on the list. I’ve only read a few of his books, but I can already state that Brandon Sanderson is a master at world building. Allomancy is an ingenious magic system, based around metals, and entirely convinced me of Sanderson’s skill in creating convincing fantasy.
Harry Potter– not the most mature system, yet it still charms me to this day 😉 Whimsical and fun, there’s a reason this made a generation of children want to be witches and wizards!
Book of the Ancestor Trilogy– this is quite a straightforward system, with four inherited powers, yet it has some cool complexities to it. While it seems simple enough, what makes the magic system in the Book of the Ancestor series appeal to me is because of how characters can inherit one type of power. It especially works for me that Nona gets most of the abilities- yet not all. I won’t spoil anything, but this ends up playing into the chosen one trope in a very clever way.
Farseer Trilogy– I very much like the way Hobb layers up different types of powers, constantly expanding the magic and the world. However, I particularly like how it starts with a clear conflict for the main character’s magic, with Fitz inheriting both the socially acceptable Skill and the stigmatised Wit. That conflict works brilliantly within the plot.
The Kingkiller Chronicles– okay yes, this is completely a trend: I like having numerous systems in one book. In this series there’s two types: sympathy and naming. What I especially like in the Kingkiller Chronicles is how one system is hard (sympathy) and the other soft (naming), making them work together in tandem.
Black Magician– I could be putting this on here because I’m fuelled by nostalgia- but I don’t care, it’s my list 😉 As I said, I like layered systems- and this does that achieves that twice over! Firstly, because magicians have many skillsets they can learn. And secondly, because while the main system is a hard one, it also has a contrasting soft power (called Black Magic). I also really love the way this one works because it also pits the hard system (which is less powerful, but easier to control) against the soft one (which is more dangerous, yet also more powerful). I also appreciate how it develops across the course of the series.
Diviners– I’m a bit spellbound by this series at the moment. The basic concept is quite simple: there are Diviners who have powers that they’ve kept hidden from the rest of the world. What makes it special to me is how each book allows the characters to grow with their powers in each book. The fact that it’s not static makes it all the more exciting to me. While it’s quite simple, I very much appreciate how it pushes against the boundaries and increases its scope with the story. Also, pro tip, for full immersion, try the audiobook- it’s divine 😉
The Raven Cycle– there are a few types of magic in this world, yet the one that really appeals to me is dream stealing- which is basically magic ever invented! For that reason, I particularly liked Dream Thieves (and to a lesser extent Call Down the Hawk), since that’s where it features most prevalently. Still it’s worth bringing up the whole series since, as I’ve mentioned, I do like my multiple magic systems 😊
And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you agree with me about any of these systems? Do you have any you’d add? Let me know in the comments!