MAGEWORLDS: The Price of the Stars, Starpilot’s Grave, By Honor Betray’d by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald
Mageworlds is one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. It’s categorized as Space Opera since there are spaceships and multiple planets involved, but trust me, this falls on the fantasy end of the spectrum. If you’ve never tried Space Opera, this is a wonderful place to get your feet wet. If you like Space Opera, jump on in! If you like great characters, intriguing plots and a fast-paced, action packed adventure, you’ll love this series.
I love the Mageworlds characters. They’re all well-drawn — even the minor characters who wander on and off stage. Both the men and women are strong and capable of acknowledging each others’ talents and abilities. Beka Rosselin-Metadi, her family, and the rest of the crew are well worth taking the time to get to know.
The pacing of Mageworlds novels is exactly right. There is plenty of action without being frenetic. The technology is kept to a minimum so that the story flows. The first time I read Mageworlds, I kept reading well past my bedtime for too many nights in a row! I’ll give you a quick plot description of each of the books below, but there are so many perfectly timed twists in the course of the series that I hesitate to give too many details.
The Price of the Stars: Beka Rosselin-Metadi is a ‘freebooter at heart, spacer by trade.’ She pilots spacecraft and doesn’t want anything to do with her family. Beka’s father is the Commanding General of the Space Force and her mother is Domina of Lost Entibor, whose leadership has held the galaxy together since the devastating war with the Mageworlds. One of her brothers is a medic in the Space Force, and the other is an apprentice Adept. When Beka’s father tracks her down and offers her his old spaceship Warhammer in exchange for the names of the assassins who murdered her mother, she accepts. Let the hunt begin!
Starpilot’s Grave: A dead spaceship has been found drifting in the Net, an artificial barrier zone between the Mageworlds and the Republic, and the message it carries is cause for concern in the Republic. The Magelords make very long range plans, but their plans didn’t include Beka. She is still on the hunt for the ones responsible for her mother’s murder, and this time she is going undercover behind the Net. What she discovers there is a Mageworld rebellion in the making. One woman and one ship might be all it takes to foil their plans.
In the true spirit of opera, there is a little bit of everything in this series. Grandiose settings, devious plotting, court intrigue, disguises, kidnappings, rescues, daring escapes, Mages and Adepts fighting, not one but two styles of magic, sword play, blasters, Space Force, civilians, alien races, espionage, decoys, double-crosses, sibling squabbles, love interests, danger, intrigue, plans made long ago coming to fruition, and a truly great dramatic ending.
Savor every little detail, enjoy each surprise as it’s sprung, and when you’re done, you can release the breath you’ve been holding in a sigh of satisfaction over time well spent. And then start figuring out which of your friends would enjoy it too. I have given The Price of the Stars to everyone in my family and it’s the first series I recommend to anyone who asks. If I’ve intrigued you at all, there are sample chapters on the authors’ website.