Here's one of those books that I discover on the occasion that is a little bit of a gem and yet no one I know has read it. Well no one except perhaps my mum as I did lend her the first book to read I believe. So I have come back - not from the grave of course - to write this review so those rare few who read my reviews will know to read it if it at all intrigues them.
This is book one in a YA series which is very well written (by an Australian I might as well mention). It is set in a world at once similar to and very different from our own world, a world which I would loosely describe as a sort of semi steam-punk world. I say semi because I do not want to provide a completely wrong idea of this novel and ruin any expectations you may hold. It is not exactly steampunk in the fullest sense of the word. The world is a sort of Victorian setting with the advanced technology based on cogs and gears you would expect in a steampunk but it's a weaker form. So don't look for a steampunk novel but rather a fantasy that incorporates some steampunk elements weakly.
The plot follows the teenager Aubrey, one of a few individuals who can use magic in this semi-familiar world. Aubrey has an interesting condition which takes up a large part of the story and keeps things entertaining as far as plot devices go.It is shortly revealed that his soul is not properly attached to his body due to a failed magic spell and that he must search for a cure for his ailment in other magical techniques. As a magician Aubrey notices that someone has been using golem magic (the creation of an animated clay figure to try and assassinate some royalty) and so the adventure begins to find the magical assassin and a cure for his ailment.
Blaze of Glory contains magic, adventure, spunky characters, interesting technology, unique world building and political intrigue. It is a unique novel to read and certainly a very entertaining one. As such I fully recommend it as a fantasy that very few people have hyped up and that you can feel free to judge on its own merit. I must say that while it is a YA book it has a sense of greatness in that it can be read by young and old audiences.