I just read On The Edge, and then reread the Kate Daniels books, and now I’m giving serious consideration to rereading that novella I didn’t really like again. These are just my ideal books for this moment in time, for some reason. They give me great joy.
The two individuals who comprise Andrews make clear in On The Edge that they read manga, but I’d already figured that out. Because Magic Burns is really obviously the result of the two of them sitting there watching Yu Yu Hakusho or something and going, “You know – we totally need to do a tournament arc.”
No, it is directly out of the Tournament Arc section of the shounen manga textbook.
And it’s a good tournament arc! Where it actually feels like people are in danger, and that it matters whether they win or lose! It’s glorious. There are all these scenes where they’re discussing their opponents and making strategy and describing what magical colors their opponents glow, and picking a name for their team, and talking about the tournament rules, and in general great stuff like that. There’s the apparently totally useless fighter who ends up laying waste to something terrifying, and is mildly puzzled when everyone else is shocked by this. There’s the self-absorbed coward who has to fight by him/herself.
Oh! And there’s one of those scenes where somebody gives away the identity of their martial arts master by using said master’s signature technique on one of his other students! (I love those.) This book is so awesome.
(On The Edge also references Girl Genius, incidentally! Girl Genius has not had a tournament arc; I kind of feel that this is something that needs remedied.)