I read this book about 1-May-2017. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 2014. This note was last modified Friday, 12-May-2017 19:16:11 PDT.
This is book 0 of the "Commonweal" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I was putting them on Pamela's phone, and it just seemed like a good idea to reread them myself.
They're still really good.
I like the world-building a lot. It makes much more sense than most portrayals of worlds with long-lived hyper-powerful wizards in them. It is, in fact, a really awful hell-hole, except for the Commonweal which has finally (a mere 5 centuries ago, which means it's not anywhere near old enough to be clearly stable yet) raised itself above the wizard empires into rule of law.
We're far enough into that world's history (250,000 years after magical power appeared) that there's no telling if it's this world (well, except all the species seem descended from things of this world). Measurements are metric, which to me is a strong signal of "this world" since they're not "ordinary" measurements, they're something very specifically invented here—but Graydon is Canadian and they're the ordinary measurements there (and in the rest of the world).
Most of the altered species (and most species, including the sapient ones, appear to have been altered) were some wizard's idea of either servants (meaning slaves) or weapons. There do not appear to be any species of wasps that have not been weaponized multiple times. Swans are also real trouble (and much bigger). And let's not forget the fire-breathing ducks.
Hmmm, I see I didn't say anything about the third one the first time I read it. This one takes the young magicians mostly through the end of their training (acceptance as Independents). Now that I'm reading them all at once, I can say that I still found some things a bit hard to follow, it wasn't just that it was a whle since the previous book. Graydon is pretty condensed, I'm apparently just not quite paying enough attention.