10. The Lord of the Rings
When you think about Lord of the Rings you would hardly think about magic systems because the magic tends to be very free flowing. However, as I see it, there is one distinct system within Middle Earth that is linked to willpower and good versus evil. The stronger one is as a spirit the greater one's power is. Gandalf as a wizard has power because he is a spirit of good (a maiar) and Sauron has power as a lesser dark deity. But all this magic is expressed through their words - through their will which is why I find this system of words and willpower interesting and magical.
9. The Spook's Apprentice
Again, there aren't systems in place where you'd necessarily think about it. However, there are different types of ways to gain magic and all magic is an evil in its own way, despite how it might be used for good. The most powerful forms of magic are also the most dangerous and costly like bone, blood or familiar magic - all powered by dark spirits and death.
8. Once Upon A Time
Twisted as the relationships might be in this show I enjoy it and I find the idea of the magic system in place fascinating: all magic comes with a price. The more powerful the magic, the greater the price is, to the point where it might include ultimate sacrifice.
7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The magic in this series is linked to the different powers of the gods of Greece (and in The Heroes of Olympus - to Rome) meaning that the children of the gods have the powers that their parents have in a lesser form. This is a fascinating system of magical power as it basically is an add-on to the natural abilities that everyone are born with as a result of the mixture of genes from both parents.
6. The Wheel of Time
The idea of having a system of elements is interesting one that has been often used within fantasy but what makes The Wheel of Time so interesting is that it differentiates between male and female power use as well as breaking this power up into the different elemental abilities which work together to achieve magic.
Warbreaker is interesting because to achieve any kind of magic it is required that magic be built up over time and drawn from life. The gods of Warbreaker require this magic to live their lives, magic which is inside every human from birth at an amount of one unit. So performing any kind of real magic requires that the colour and life of a person be drawn from them.
4. The Black Prism
I am currently reading through this novel (and then will read the sequel) and find the magic system one of the best I have encountered. The idea of having a world where the magic users have different abilities with power is similar to that of Avatar but the twist is that particular magic users can weave the different colours of light to different effects. However the Prism can weave all the colours and not only that he can bend light within himself, whereas everyone else must do it outside of themselves.
3. Avatar the Last Airbender
I love this show and while it may be primarily aimed at children it works for teenagers and adults also with its subtlety and charm. I also appreciate the sequel show (The Legend of Korra) in its own right too. The magic system is linked into the whole spirit world of the show, creating a system where magic users only have one power each save for the Avatar who is the spiritual representative of all the elements and has the power to bring balance to the world and bend all elements.
The idea of having a school where magic is performed through animating various chalk drawings is fascinating. And while the magic may exist mainly to allow for magical duels there is plenty of intrigue in the plot of magical drawings affecting the real world. It's a magic system with set rules but also with a sense of charm that sets it apart.
Finally we have my favourite magic system, that found in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and expanded in The Alloy of Law (and the sequel books which are coming soon - hooray!! ). The premise of this magic system depends on mistings and mistborn, individuals who can use particular magical abilities dependent on burning metal within themselves. Those who can only use one ability through a particular metal are mistings but mistborn can use all the powers. The whole concept of mistings and mistborn is fun and ties into a whole plot about spirits and the magical nature of the series' world.
Look out for my next post coming in the next few days on my favourite series (with three or more books) along with an explanation as to the reasoning...