About Karin Rita Gastreich
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wild lands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.
What’s so fascinating about magic by Karin Rita Gastreich
This question could be taken a lot of different directions, from the general appeal of magic across the genre of fantasy, to the special importance of magic in Eolyn’s world.
In chapter three of the first novel of The Silver Web, Eolyn and Akmael meet as children. During this encounter, Eolyn discovers that unbeknownst to her, she has been learning magic. She and Akmael have the following exchange:
“Whenever I draw earth from the air, there’s a sensation that makes me feel all warm inside,” Eolyn said. “Does that happen to you? Does magic make you happy, like when the sun shines on a spring day or when winter’s first snow begins to fall?”
“I don’t know.” Akmael had to think for a moment. “It’s not exactly happiness I feel, it is more like a sense of power over great movement, as if a river were flowing through my hands. It reminds me a little of what it’s like to ride a spirited horse.”
In just a few sentences, Eolyn and Akmael capture one of the fundamental beauties of magic: The experience of magic is unique for each individual. Even for the same person, invoking magic as a child has an entirely different quality compared to invoking magic as an adult.
In Eolyn’s world, magic is forbidden to women. The ruling class claims many justifications for this prohibition, but in the end, everything boils down to one concern: Magic is a source and symbol of power. The noblemen of Eolyn’s world, anxious to maintain control over restless and sometimes rebellious subjects, stripped women of the rights to practice magic because they fear that women’s magic incites sedition.
Maybe they’re right. Then again, maybe a little bit of sedition would not be such a bad thing in this brutal medieval realm.
Eolyn, in fact, is not a warmonger. All she desires is the opportunity to express her gifts fully, and to use these gifts to serve her people. But in order to get that opportunity, she may have to wage war against those who would rather see her burn.
Those are a few thoughts on magic in Eolyn’s world. What about magic for the rest of us?
For me as a reader and an author, magic brings a sense of the unexpected to any story. By definition, magic breaks the rules, often in surprising ways. Magic also adds a layer of wonder to any moment or journey. This is true in our lives and in our stories. Like many people, I like to see magic in my everyday life, in the beauty of spring flowers, summer sunsets, and fresh-fallen snow.
In short, magic makes me happy.
What about you?
Eolyn was very young when a heart wrenching tragedy sent her deep into the woods. Being guided by the Guendes she found Ghemena. A high maga who lives in solitude after escaping her own death.
It is believed that there are no maga left in the world so they must be careful they won't be discovered.
Eolyn goes out in the woods all the time and it is there that she meets a young boy. He is a mage and is trained to become a high mage. What she doesn't know is that when he grows up he will be in the position to make or break her.
When Ghemena learns who eolyn's mother was she teaches her everything that a maga needs to know. Eolyn excepts her true calling and is being honored by the Dragon to become a High Maga.
With this calling also comes a difficult path. Every woman in the nation is being carefuly watched.
If anyone suspects them being a witch they will end up on the pyre. Only the men can have magical abilities. A male witch is a mage and they are all being trained by a very powerful and dark wizard who once made sure all the High Maga found their excruciating death.
Eolyn is such a sweet and pure girl but not naive. I loved those subbleties about her. She is the only High Maga alive and she is destined and determent to bring magic back into the lives of all people. Even though she has seen a lot of tragedies in her life she still remains positive and strong.
Together with her own 'army' she will face the King to get the succesful outcome they all long for. When enemies become allies and allies become possible enemies who will come out on top?
Will Eolyn be able to see through the people who are closest to her of will she end up paying for her mistakes?
Karin Rita Gastreich created a wonderful magical world that sometimes feels like a fairytale.
The main characters are so diverse in all their abilities that it is a joy to read about them. It was very easy for me to clearly picture the scenes. Even though it's sometimes hard to
understand how the worlds work within this genre I had no trouble at all with understanding the story straight from the start and I found myself totally grabbed by all the magical beings that are a part of Eolyn's world.
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