Book Review: ‘Mage’s Blood’ by David Hair

Posted: 2 May 2016 in Book reviews
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In Book 1 of The Moontide Quartet, Urte is on the brink of the Third Crusade since Antonin Meiros built the Leviathan Bridge. As both continents, Yuros and Antiopia, prepare for war, the fate of all is unknowingly placed in the hands of three very different people.

Elena Anborn is a half-blood mage and an assassin. She is one of three magi sent to the northern Antiopia as bodyguards for the king of Javon and his family. Her role is to guard the children: Cera, Solinde, and Timori. What she doesn’t know is that it was all a ruse to annihilate the royal family and reinstate the former Dorobon royal family as part of Yuros’ crusade. But she rebels. She thwarts the attack, saving Cera and Timori. Cera must now act as regent until her brother comes of age. She makes Elena her chief bodyguard and has her complete trust. That is until the enemy appears and tries to poison Cera’s mind. Despite everything Elena does for Javon, she fails to see her betrayal until it is too late.

On Yuros, Elena’s nephew Alaron Mercer struggles through his final year at Turm Zauberin, an all male mage school in the southern city of Norostein. He is a quarter-blood mage, a joke among the other pure blood students. His only friends are two Rimoni mages: Ramon and Cym. His life is upended when he is failed at graduation and is no longer allowed to use his gnosis (magic). He is devastated, but Cym gives him a gift that gives him hope. Then a mysterious mute shows up revealing the real reason Alaron failed. They follow the clues to discover the truth behind the Noros revolt, a truth that could change the fate of Yuros forever.

In the southern Antiopian region of Lakh, Ramita normal life changes when her father breaks her betrothal to Kazim to give her to an older, but much richer man. Ramita struggles with this, but as a dutiful daughter suffers through it. At least her closest friend Huriya is with her. At home in the far northern city of Hebusalim, Ramita’s feelings towards her husband soften and they become close. But when Kazim appears, her world is thrown into chaos. She becomes pregnant and isn’t sure who the father is. As she struggles with her guilt, Kazim and other’s hatch a plot to liberate her from her supposed captivity. The problem is, does she really want to be freed?

My Thoughts

This book was a random pull off the library shelf as I was in a hurry and just wanted something new to read and nothing sounded particularly interesting. Despite being written in a similar style of a book I had been reading (and gave a 1-star rating to), I am pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

At first glance, the story didn’t seem very interesting. By that I’m referring to the synopsis on the dust jacket. Is sounded meh. Then I began reading it. I am happy to say that I really enjoyed the story. One thing I rolled my eyes at a bit, but then made into a game, was the similarity between names of places in Urte and real locations on Earth (especially when you say them out loud 😉 ). I mean Hebusalim sounds ridiculously close to Jerusalem. Of course it isn’t a bad thing, just an observation. I also found it interesting how similar the religions were to what we have in real life. Amteh is basically their version of Islam. While I found the similarities silly in the beginning, I appreciated the blatant links to reality as it gave the motivations of the characters and story plausibility.

As for the characters, they were very well developed. Each one had their own unique set of challenges and issues to deal with. There are many notable characters, like Ramon, Cym, Kazim, Gyle, etc, but there are only three primary characters: Elena, Alaron, and Ramita. I liked each one for different reasons. I liked Elena because of her change of heart. She found a place she considered home and fought for it, much to the surprise to all those who thought they knew her. I liked Alaron because of his weakness. I found him very relatable. He has struggles like many kids and people have today. He deals with being bullied, elitism, rejection, one-sided love, self-defeat, doubt, and passion to be more than what others think him to be. Ramita is a character with a personality I strive to have. She is a survivor. She is kind and enduring. She doesn’t allow herself to wallow in self-pity. She is emotionally and mentally strong. She has to deal with a lot and she deals with it beautifully. I could really take a leaf from her book.

The writing is very well done. It is third person (which is prefer). The only part of the writing I could have struggled with was the chapters being bounced between characters. Not that I haven’t read books like that, they were just more clarified. I also just struggled through a book that was written in the same pattern so I was very concerned. I guess the concern was because that book was just terrible (yes I will be reviewing it soon). Thankfully this one was wasn’t. It was engaging and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep you absorbed within its pages.

Clearly I liked the book. It was fun, the characters were relatable, the story was well developed and crafted, and it left me wanting more. I cannot wait to get the second book from the library and continue this journey. If you enjoy fantasy books, then you should read this. Enjoy 😉

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