Book Tour: Merchants of Knowledge and Magic by Erika McCorkle

Book Tour: Merchants of Knowledge and Magic by Erika McCorkleMerchants of Knowledge and Magic by Erika McCorkle

Published by Shadow Spark Publishing on April 8th 2022
Pages: 530

On one of the many planes of the Pentagonal Dominion, priestess Calinthe trades in information, collecting valuable secrets for her demonic employer. Calinthe has a secret of her own: she’s intersex, making her a target for the matriarchal slavers of the Ophidian Plane whose territory she must cross in her search for hidden knowledge. But thanks to her friend Zakuro’s illusions, Calinthe presents as a woman- a comfortable, if furtive, existence in a world determined to bring her to heel.

But when, instead of a mere secret, the priestess uncovers an incalculably powerful artifact, Calinthe finds herself in a high-stakes negotiation with the same matriarchs who sought to enslave her. On the table: Calinthe’s discovery, a charm powerful enough to transform a mortal into a god… against a secret so deadly it could quell all life on every plane of the dominion. If Calinthe plays her cards perfectly, she and Zakuro could escape Ophidia wealthier than either of them ever dreamed possible.

But if she plays them wrong…

…she’ll learn slavery in her pursuers’ hands is a fate far worse than death.

Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for the free copy as part of the tour in exchange for an honest review. This is a first impression for now since I haven’t been able to finish it due to surgery. I’ll replace it later with a full review.

The one thing that drew me in with Merchants of Knowledge and Magic is the gorgeous cover. A beautiful cover can definitely sell me on a book, and this one did. It was on my wishlist and TBR before the launch. Then through a strange conversation, I ended up reading one of Erika’s short stories set in the same universe and I absolutely loved it. I became even more excited about this release. One thing she told me was that this book would be a lot heavier than the short story. Like, the complete opposite.

I haven’t gotten that far into the book yet, but I’m glad her writing style is comparable. It’s vivid with a lot of worldbuilding. A lot, a lot. There are 22 years of worldbuilding hidden behind the words. There are footnotes to clarify certain things. And even though I have an academic background, I do not care for footnotes. Either include or clarify it in the running text or leave it out. But don’t make it unnecessary exposition either. Does that make me a high maintenance fantasy fan? Maybe. I have a feeling I did okay with understanding what she meant without checking the footnotes once, though.

The world she’s created is unlike anything I’ve seen so far. So many new races with unique abilities, the countries, the fauna, the flora. If you’re looking for something that goes outside of all the ‘regular’ fantasy, Tolkien-esque, tropes, this is definitely for you. I’m curious about the rest of the story and can’t want to read more.

I’ve finally finished Merchants of Knowledge and Magic and I’m blown away. The worldbuilding is epic, the characters fantastic, and the author doesn’t shy away from anything difficult. After I posted the above, the footnotes didn’t bother or hinder my reading at all, so you can strike that. It just shows how passionate the author is about the world, and I love that.

Calinthe and Zakuro are interesting characters and the relationship is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. It allows the author to explore gender and sexuality without constraints. And it’s not just this, but a lot of real world topics make a subtle appearance, creating society that feels real on so many levels. The magic system uses blood of the gods as a catalyst for a type of magic a being can use, and is tied to the religious system. I really like how it’s done, that magic has a cost beyond (life) energy or fancy wordy spells.

The writing is excellent and smooth, especially later on the book when you’re familiar with all the races and worlds. That’s when the pacing also increases, even though the beginning of the book is already well-paced. I couldn’t stop reading after I got to the final quarter.

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic gets five stars, and a little bit more. It’s an incredibly well-written story with excellent worldbuilding and interesting flawed characters. It’s a hard book to describe because there’s so much going on. It’s a world you get lost in, a world with a thousand stories and you only hear a few of them in this book. Check the content warnings before reading because it deals with a lot heavy topics.

If you liked The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies, you will enjoy Merchants of Knowledge and Magic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *