Spoilers for the first three books in the Verania series. If you haven’t read them, and will be doing so, I suggest clicking away until after you’re done. I won’t be spoiling the final book. This is the final blog post before the release tomorrow, March 27.
Once, there was a bird.
It was dead.
And Sam of Wilds brought it back to life.
For a long time, he didn’t tell anyone about it. Not just because he was scared, but because of the cost it had to the world around him. Using that level of magic to do what he did charred every living thing around him, from the grass below to the trees above.
He tried to keep it a secret as long as he could. And for a time, it looked as if it would remain a secret forever.
But then things changed, and he had no choice but to reveal it to Randall, of all people, in The Consumption of Magic. I like to think that Morgan and Randall both knew beforehand (Randall intimates as much), because the idea that they would let someone so young and more than a little…exuberant keep secrets from them, like they were doing to him. Unfair? Maybe. But I think the argument could be soundly made that Morgan and Randall had, for the most part, Sam’s best interests at heart.
One big thing I wrestled with in the upcoming final installment to Sam’s story, A Wish Upon the Stars, was whether Sam would actually use this power or not. I liked the idea that strength can reside in the things we don’t do as much as the things we actually do. But is that a cop out of sorts? I didn’t know, and while much of the final book was planned down the smallest of details, I still wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate Sam’s gift.
As a small, wise green puppet once said: Do or do not; there is no try.
I think, in a way, this conundrum makes what Sam is capable of all the more heartbreaking. Because he’s been told there was a prophecy, and in this prophecy, he sees Ryan Foxheart dead on a slab of stone, sword clutched to his chest. As Sam notes, the future is set in stone, but stone crumbles.
What if this came to pass? What would Sam do? Would he be willing to potentially take the lives of others to give back to his cornerstone? What kind of person would that make him?
There was a moment toward the end of The Consumption of Magic was faced with this very real possibility. Except it wasn’t Ryan on a slab of stone.
It was Morgan of Shadows.
And they were in the Throne Room, surrounded by the King and Justin. Kevin, Gary and Tiggy. Sam’s parents. A large crowd of the people of Verania, all mourning the loss of the King’s Wizard. Ryan lay in the healing wing, unconscious from the wound he sustained from Ruv.
And for a brief moment, didn’t Sam consider it? Didn’t he think how easy it would be to bring Morgan back to life?
And in the end, he chose not to.
But how much more can he be pushed before his hand is forced?
This is what Sam is facing when we return to Verania on March 27 in A Wish Upon the Stars. Nearly a year has passed since he disappeared into the Dark Woods, and he returns to a world changed. While his personality hasn’t necessarily changed, Sam is…different. He’s not the same person he was when he made the decision to follow the Great White. He can’t be, not with all he went through during this missing year.
But even though he’s stronger than he ever was, the question still remains.
Just because you have the power, does it mean you should actually use it?
In the end, the answer might surprise you.
Because this is the end. A Wish Upon the Stars (a title that has so many meanings) is the culmination of a story began in The Lightning-Struck Heart. I put everything I had into this book, wanting to bring the saga to an awesome conclusion. You may think you have an idea where the story is going to go, but trust me when I say that’s the beauty of illusory magic: it’s a diversion, and when the real magic hits, you won’t believe your eyes.
Sam of Wilds is about to make the biggest wish of all.
Join us, won't you?