by Meredith Mansfield
Keep your head down. Don’t draw attention. Above all, don’t make yourself a target. Those are the rules seventeen-year-old Ailsa lives by. It’s just part of being the daughter of the disgraced ex-king and living too close to his more-than-slightly paranoid successor.
The new king’s insecurities and repressive policies drive most of the mages out of the kingdom–and with them the magic that her desert country urgently needs to survive.
Desperate, Ailsa sets out to study magic so she can help keep Far Terra green. But it’s not as easy as just learning to use her own magic. She’s going to need allies. She’s going to need the very kind of political power that is forbidden to mages.
She must decide if she can trust her heart—and Far Terra’s future—to the childhood friend who is also the new king’s heir. Or she could choose to team up with the fascinating and cheerfully annoying fellow student of magic who, it turns out, has even higher political connections to the emperor himself.
It may take all three of them to bring Far Terra back from the brink.
“I love the interesting worlds Mansfield creates. In this one, both the magic system and the political one were intriguing.”
“Classic fantasy with a sweet romance that really stuck with me. The world-building is fantastic, slightly fairytale-like, but with a fresh system of magic.”
“The fantasy setting is intriguing and I love how the author developed characters that naturally grow out of that setting. There are some facinating conflicts as Ailsa works to find her place. If you like fantasy setting + magic + innocent teen romance, you’ll enjoy reading this.”
CIR: What inspired this book?
MANSFIELD: This book actually started out as fan fiction. I don’t write fanfic, but sometimes, when I’m doing revisions and I’ve read a book that particularly resonates with me, I let my imagination play with the world and the side characters. The original in this case was science fiction, so I shifted it to fantasy (which is my preferred genre to write anyway), changed some other pertinent facts, and wrote it. I thought it was going to be a novella, but this other character showed up and sort of hijacked it.
CIR: What did you learn about your characters while writing this book?
MANSFIELD: Originally, I was experimenting with writing an introverted character (Savyon). There was never going to be a love triangle. But Ailsa needed friends and a study partner while she was at school. As soon as I started writing Jathan, I knew the whole story was about to change right out from under me. After that, all I could do was keep writing and find out what happened.
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
MANSFIELD: Very little. Far Terra is very loosely based on the American west, specifically the post-Civil-War desert southwest. Emphasis on loosely. There are no cowboys, Indians, or gunslingers. But I did need to do a little research about stage coaches. Especially about how far they could travel in a day. I found out a few other interesting things about stage coaches along the way, some of which made their way into the story.
CIR: What message will readers get out of this story?
MANSFIELD: You can’t let anyone else tell you who you are or who you’re going to be. Only you can decide that.
CIR: Is there more coming?
MANSFIELD: Well, there might be. Not a series in the typical sense. Possibly another visit to this world, but with different characters and different problems, though still exploring the interaction of Magic and Power (which was the working title of this book). Some of the characters from Daughter of the Disgraced King might make an appearance, but the story wouldn’t be about them. One of the characters who would be central the second story shared a dance with Sav toward the end of Daughter of the Disgraced King, though. Interestingly, that story also started as a kind of unwritten fanfic. But the original in that case is actually a classic mystery. If I do write that story, Magic and Power might end up being the “series” title.