- Mageborn (Age of Dread #1).
- Stephen Aryan.
- 432 pages.
- Fantasy / Epic Fantasy.
- My Rating: It’s OK Book Review.
It’s been ten years since the battlemage war, where thousands died as mages sundered the earth and split the sky.
Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure a lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with the ability.
As deaths involving magic increase and the seat of magical learning – the Red Tower – falls under suspicion, two students and one lawbringer must do everything they can to combat Habreel and his followers, before magic disappears from the world for good.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Mageborn is the first book in Stephen Aryan’s new epic fantasy trilogy Age of Dread set ten years after the conclusion of his previous trilogy Age of Darkness (I have to admit that I haven’t read the first trilogy).
The Red Tower has reopened and its aim is to train children to control their magic and become mages. Seekers roam the land testing children for magic but a plot by some to ban all magic is manifesting as sedition is spread, playing on people’s fear and prejudice of mages and magic due to the Warlock and the events of the Age of Darkness trilogy.
I feel the need to mention the lack of a map. I know, I know, I can hear some of you collectively groaning about such a small and trivial thing (it doesn’t impugn on my opinion of the book – which I enjoyed). However, it’s only my personal opinion but I like maps in fantasy books and would have liked to have seen one in Mageborn as it is the first book in the trilogy and. With various places and locations mentioned throughout it would have been nice to have had a map for reference purposes (yes, I’m one of the sad people who actually look at the map in a fantasy book).
The world building was decent enough and serviceable but I’d have liked to have seen Aryan delve deeper into certain areas and give us more history. Likewise, I felt the same with certain characters too and their lack of backstory. I do feel, however, that a large part of that feeling is due to me being a ‘new‘ reader to Aryan and his world and that ‘old‘ readers who are already acquainted with his work and have read his previous trilogy would recognise places and characters from the Age of Darkness trilogy.
I did think during the course of Mageborn that there were a couple of times where certain aspects of the story were glossed and skimmed over and I would have preferred further elaboration. Similarly, some events that transpired also appeared to escalate rather quickly. It’s not really a negative, more a musing on my part as I can see why Aryan did this to keep the plot focused and the pacing fast.
There’s a lot of PoV characters (Habreel and Akosh who have an uneasy alliance as they plot to eradicate magic. Munroe, a sorcerer. Munroe’s husband, Choss, a combat trainer at the Red Tower. Tammy, a Guardian of the Peace. Tianne and Wren, both students at the Red Tower. And, other sporadic PoV too) in Mageborn and we flit from location to location and character to character as the story moves forward. The story ARC’s are interesting and the characters themselves offering various different cultures (Wren is from a different culture to the other students in the Red Tower and seeing how she adapts is one of the standout aspects of the book) views and personalities are engaging.
My favourite main characters in Mageborn would have to be Akosh, Wren and Munroe. I also really liked Samara (Munroe’s mother) she’s only a minor character but I found her to be a great addition.
Admittedly, it did take a while for my interest to be piqued when reading Mageborn. There wasn’t that moment early on that pulled me into the story. It really was a tale of two halves as the first hundred pages of the book I was just ‘reading‘ to be reading and doing something. But then, somewhere along the way, it all seemed to ‘click‘ into place and I became invested in both the story that Aryan was telling and in the characters that he had created.
After finishing, I struggled to rate Mageborn. On my blog I rate with a ‘Hell No‘, ‘It’s OK‘ or a ‘Hell Yeah‘ rating. Mageborn definitely wasn’t a ‘Hell No‘ review but deciding between ‘It’s OK‘ and ‘Hell Yeah‘ proved rather tricky for me! Mageborn was a read that I enjoyed, there’s a lot to like within the pages and after the ending, well, I’m certainly intrigued to see where Aryan will take his characters and story next. But, as you can tell from my review, I also, unfortunately, had some issues with the book that tempered my enjoyment and I was also left with the feeling that overall I just wanted ‘more‘ from my time spent with Mageborn. In the end, I decided to go with an ‘It’s OK‘ rating for Mageborn which is my equivalent in stars of a 3 or 3.5 out of 5. It was a higher end ‘It’s OK‘ so I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 or 7 out of 10 which I feel to be fair.
Whilst Mageborn failed to hit the heights of books in my favourite fantasy trilogies I still found it to be a decent read and start to a new trilogy by Aryan. In short, Mageborn is a worthwhile read for fans of epic fantasy.
Purchase Mageborn (Age of Dread #1).
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