Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Guest Review: The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller

Another lovely review by my fiancé today! 

About the book
The Innocent Mage is the first in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series by Karen Miller. The paperback is 522 pages long and was first published on 25 July 2005.

Being a Fisherman like his Father isn't a bad life, but it's not the one that Asher wants. Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of Princes, beggars...and the warrior mages who have protected the Kingdom for generations.

Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is bring watched by members of The Circle, a secret organisation dedicated to preserving an ancient magic.

Asher might have come to the city to make his fortune, but he will find his destiny.

What I thought
Ah fantasy. Oh how love it. Such vivid characters, such epic escapism. Such bloody long books...and so many of them!  I can't tell you the number of times I've been in a book shop, attracted by a suitable looking cover, to find that the book I am holding is book 8 of 50! Damn it! Now I have to get hold of 7 other books before I can read this one! I am also not the fastest reader in the world. For example I have been reading through Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series for about 4 years and am still only on book 10 - I've been reading other things as well of course but you get my point.

'What has all that to do with this book?' I hear you whisper. Well I shall tell you. I appear to have happened across a series with only 5 books (so far) in the series. 
Not only that but the book I happened to find is the first (yes, the first) of them all! This never never happens to me.

I should say at this point that I actually really enjoy reading through epic fantasy series..I just get a bit frustrated with how long it takes me.

To this book! I got this book from the local library, it having been recommended by a friend who got it from the same library. She demanded I read it. I'm very glad she did.

Asher is a fisherman from a little fishing town. He is honest, outspoken, sometimes seen as rude, downtrodden by his elder brothers and understood only by his Father it seems who has not been the same since the death of Asher's mother. Asher decides to travel to the city to spend a year (no more, no less) making his fortune to take home to his poor old da so they can buy their own fishing boat. Being the youngest he wants his Da to be proud of him. However on arrival in the city, it seems destiny has other ideas for Asher and his life takes a completely unexpected turn. Is Asher the long prophesied Innocent Mage? What does that mean for his life, his goals and his promise to his dear old da?

I absolutely loved this book. Asher is such a breath of fresh air to read. He says exactly what he thinks and he doesn't care who he says it it a stable hand, an innkeep or royalty. He isn't rude though. He's just Asher. 
Reading, you are treated to knowledge about Asher that he doesn't have himself which makes you root for the character even more. 

I love a fantasy world that has all types of flawed and interesting characters. Also characters with layers, with depth. All of the characters in this are extremely well written. The story is fast paced and kept me gripped.
As much as anything, this book is about the friendship between a fisherman and a prince. Prince Gar is also a great character, born to be king but seen as unwhole by his family and his subjects because he was born without the magic that defines his people. A serious, studious man, shunned by people behind his back but not to his face, Gar relies on Asher for the honesty that he doesn't get from others around him. Their relationship is at the centre of the whole story and you can see what it means to both of them.

I won't ramble on or I'll give the whole story away. I loved this book (did I mention that?). It has everything - drama, humour, tragedy and angst. Action and heroics, magic, the lot.  Now go and read it! Frustratingly the library don't have the second one. Aaarrrgggghhh! Hello Amazon.

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