Magic is divided into two main categories: paranormal magic which the use of paranormal methods to manipulate natural forces and illusory magic, the art of appearing to perform supernatural feats. The 15 rebels in R.J. Vickers’ The Natural Order have no idea which stream they’re going to be learning. This theme of indecision figures prominently into this tale as a whole.
The main juvenile delinquent in The Natural Order is nicely named Tristan Fairholm, a misunderstood, confused kid whose been labeled as troublesome by the authorities. Alongside his 14 cohorts, Tristan is taught everything magic, evoking J.K Rowling’s masterful Harry Potter series, minus a few strangely named characters. Vickers documents Tristan’s attempts at learning the dark arts is once both comical and intense. Because magic is so often regarded as taboo, even in today’s society, Vickers’ smooth story telling contains a hint of controversy that drives the plot forward.
When Tristan and his crew have successfully mastered magic, they make the unfortunate realization that the skills they have been taught ultimately causes much death and dismay. They are faced with the decision of either to stay status quo with their newly acquired skills or to use them to save life instead of ending it.
Vickers’ has created a world where the disenfranchised are the ones being given the power to save the world. However, it is this power that is so heavily mired in bloodshed and angst that despite the end result having positive intentions, it is littered with sadness. The Natural Order is a good, quick, entertaining read for those fans of Harry Potter and the His Dark Material’s series. Nicely done, Vickers.