Welcome to our 2016 52 in 52 series. This year I will be reading 52 Magic: the Gathering novels spanning two decades of Vorthos lore. Each week I’ll share my review of the book along with a synopsis for those of you who are just interested in the core of the story.

52 in 52

After spending last week reading The Eternal Ice and getting to know Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, I decided to take another break from the Ice Age saga to visit a more modern pyromancer. So this week we’re diving into Laura Resnick’s The Purifying Fire which features everyone’s favorite post-Mending fire-slinger: Chandra Nalaar.

The Purifying Fire
by Laura Resnick

If you like playing with fire, then you will probably enjoy this one. If you like clever one-liners provided by people who play with fire, then you will probably enjoy this one. If you enjoy origin stories setting up the relationships which will eventually form the Oath of the Gatewatch, then you will probably enjoy this one. If you like a deep and satisfying plot that has unpredictable turns and rewarding character development, this may not be the book for you.

The book has enjoyable moments, but for the most part it’s a very predictable story about a protagonist whose hot-temper gets the best of her time and time again until she finally gets to a point where continuing to do so will kill her so she gets control of herself and lives (sorry for the spoiler but if you’re reading this then you probably know that Chandra didn’t die back in 2009).

While the Chandra we know and love today is a pretty complex character, the Chandra of The Purifying Fire is a bit two-dimensional. She has come to Keral Keep on the plane of Regatha, a monastery for pyromancers which is greatly influenced by the teachings of Jaya Ballard. Chandra wants to control her emotions but isn’t really too interested in putting in the effort required to do so. She enjoys her freedom and the freedom to act as she chooses, often with little concern for those around her.

Chandra’s poor decision making results in her burning down a large swathe of a forest killing innocents in the woods, destroying a museum when she tries to steal the scroll a second time killing innocents in the carnage, and ultimately planeswalking away to a world where she finds herself cut off from her mana and is stranded along with Gideon Jura.

Oh right, Gideon is in this book. So is Jace, but only for a few pages. Gideon is hunting Chandra for a reason that won’t become apparent until the last 20 pages or so. He and Chandra bond while stranded on an unknown plane. They have a fun adventure there where Chandra starts to learn to control herself but still not really and then they go their separate ways.

Overall Rating: 3.0 — I don’t know what more to say without going too deep into the plot, other than everyone is very two-dimensional. Gideon and Chandra both have a bit of character development but only at the very end of the story, so we never really see who they are after they’ve changed. We’ll eventually get those stories, but for now we’re left with another action-packed story short on character depth or interesting plot.

Next Week’s Book—The Shattered Alliance by Jeff Grubb

At the end of The Eternal Ice it turned out the ice wasn’t so eternal when Freyalise put an end to the Ice Age with the help of Jodah’s mirror. Now Jodah has to handle the climate change disaster, an end to the peace in Kjeldor, and legions of undead. Next week we conclude the Ice Age!

(Or we might not, because of how long some books take to ship, or how long I waited to order them, we may end up reading a different book, find out next week)

Full Disclosure: The images of books in this review will take you to Amazon.com where you can purchase these books (and many more items, so I’m told). If you do so, Hipsters of the Coast will receive a small percentage of your money which will be used to ensure columns like this and many others can continue to exist. Please note that if you click the link then anything you purchase from Amazon in the next 24 hours (even if it isn’t this book) will provide us with a small percentage, so if you want to help support Hipsters of the Coast and need to buy a new vacuum cleaner then click away!

52 in 52 is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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