Another random short-story recommendation:
Elementalism is one of the most common forms of magic in fantasy. Flinging fire, whipping up the waters, hurlling thunderbolts. Who wouldn’t love to do that? But, like many other popular forms of magic, elementalism has lost its grip on real magic. Because, real magic has a price. And real big magic has a real big price. Being tired for a few hours just doesn’t cut it.
And along some Helen Keeble and makes the magic magic again. In Helen Keeble’s world of elemental magic, it’s the elements that are in control, and the humans who are just poor vessels of that power. Specifically, I’m refering to two short stories in Strange Horizons, entitled “In Ashes” and “In Stone“, where we learn just what price you pay to control nature, and just how cruel the choice of who pays it.
And I guess what I’m saying here is that that’s how true magic works, or should be.