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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Experimental Magics is a work of fantasy fiction and political intrigue by author Alex Evans. The work is best suited to a mature reading audience for its complex themes but is not overly graphic or explicit for teen readers to enjoy. Our protagonist is Professor Adrienne Imlay, whom we find in a mechanical world where magic has returned after centuries of absence, only to suddenly find itself used and abused by those who claim to have scientific knowledge of it. Using the shamanic gifts that she was once shunned for, Adrienne discovers more problems with this new magic and its would-be innovators during her research, and the cost of these mistakes will be high indeed.
Author Alex Evans delivers fantastic insight into a world where celebrity culture, fake news, and the hopeful-yet-hopeless promises of innovation are highlighted by an exciting new fantasy context. As such, these ideas have much to tell us about modern life, and the author uses the central protagonist wonderfully to question knowledge, power, politics, and influence along the way. There is also a masterful and innovative plot with exciting events, magical mishaps, and sudden twists to marvel at, and the command of dialogue only enhances the worldbuilding through the seamless inclusion of new terms, ideas, and ways of discussing magic and its laws. What results is a stunning deep dive into a high-concept world with cultural commentary, relatable characters, and fresh, original writing. Overall, I would highly recommend Experimental Magics to readers seeking science fiction and fantasy stories that hold up a mirror to contemporary life.