9 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Eric S. (Shooter) reviewed The Awakened Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, Bk 2) on
Helpful Score: 7
This wasn't the best fantasy novel I have ever read, nor the worst by far. If you have read the first book in the series (Innocent Mage) you will no doubt want to read this one as well. For me, the first book was even slower than this book... the author's pacing is not the best, and I found myself skimming some passages to get back to the main story line and the main characters.
Without being too much of a spoiler, I guess my biggest disappointment in this novel was that the "real" magic from the protagonist didn't occur until well past half way through the book, and even then we didn't get to see much in the way of *why* this magic was so effective against his opponent, nor did we learn much about the nature of the magic of the Olken. After all of the build-up, I expected more. In addition, I thought the author took the easy way out by making the magic so "second nature" to the main character; by making the learning of the magic "easy" for him, the author cheated the readers to some degree, since because it was easy, it required little explanation. The protagonist "sketches a sigil" into the air, and we are supposed to envision how that was done without the benefit of a better description. The protagonist "conjures glimfire" yet we don't get to understand the process or the implications, nor does there seem to be any limit imposed on the magic.
So... while it wasn't a bad novel, and I thought the dialogue was pretty decent, I wouldn't say this ranks anywhere near Lord of the Rings, or David Eddings' Belgariad series, or Wizard's First Rule, or George R. R. Martin's Swords series. But it was enjoyable enough, and a lot better than the Magic of Recluce series or (in my opinion) the highly overrated and repetitive Wheel of Time series.
Mark S. reviewed The Awakened Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, Bk 2) on
Helpful Score: 4
Ho hum. Aside from being a bit drawn out and predictable, it's a good enough read. Not very spicy and a bit chewy, the book goes down like a good hamburger. Sometimes you want duck with raspberry sauce and sometimes you just want a burger with pickles. As a sequel it seems like one huge book cut in two. I have a habit of reading books and when completed I leave them on a tabletop for whoever finds them. These should have been left together.
Second of "Kingmaker, Kingbreaker", which was originally meant as a single novel. (I think she may be writing more books to follow these two.) Not bad for a first series, and very different from her next two (The Godspeaker Trilogy and Rogue Agent). I see a lot of development in her writing as she grows in to it, but they do remain on the level of pleasant "potato chip" fantasy.
I actually read this "dualogy" after reading the first of the series that follows (Prodigal Mage). So, I knew part of the story, from a different perspective.
As a series, it was a little unsatisfying. As an explanation of the events that you hear about in Prodigal Mage, however, you get a real feel for the characters earlier in their lives. Overall I liked it, I just wish the ending was not quite so abrupt. I could have used another few chapters (somehow) that dealt with the aftermath of the climax; I would have gladly traded some of the narrative from the front of the books, as parts seemed to drag a bit.
I love the characters that Miller has created, and I like that she doesn't just kill the bad guys, let the good guys live. They seem like they have real lives, and are not just 1- or 2-dimensional.
WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, The Innocent Mage. If you haven't read it yet, why are you even reading a review for the second book??
Let's talk about feelings first. It's hard to rate a book that leaves you satisfied, but strangely emotionally detached. Perhaps it was because of the way the story was structured. I read the last half of the book in one day, not an easy feat for a slow reader like me, but throughout that section of the book, my heart was pounding with suspense. I wanted to, no needed, to read what was going to happen next, when Asher was going to save the day.
Speaking of good and evil, the line between them is not as clear cut as it may sound in the novel. Sure, there is Morg, the absolute evil, and Barl, the supposed goddess. Sure, she saved a bunch of Doranen by migrating to and settling Lur, but she practically subjugated the already present Olken in the process. It stinks of the early English colonists and their quest for Native American lands... But I digress. Perhaps Miller wanted us to see that, perhaps not.
On to the storyline. If you enjoyed the way the first book centered around politics, then you will be happy to know that this book will have much of the same. Getting to see what Morg is scheming just makes the slow downfall that much more unbearable and dreadful. Morg just plays on human faults and expands upon them, it was somewhat frightening to watch it helplessly unfold.
All in all, it was an interesting series. I will be looking forward to putting my hands on the other books in the same universe, hoping against hope that they will contain more magic for my liking. It was an entertaining read, but it fell a little short for me. I don't regret reading it, but I'm glad to have satiated my curiosity and get it out of the way.
Hey, if I sound a little meh about this book, remember that I rated this 4 stars! That means it had something going for it that made this book good but not great.
While this book was longer, pagewise, it seemed shorter, a lot shorter. While Innocent seemed to be about Asher's journey from fisherman to Olken noble, Awakened seemed a rush to finish the story. Almost like the author didn't really care about the ending but was more interested in getting to a different point. I enjoyed "Innocent Mage" a good bit more.