By: Kate Elliot
Servant Mage, by Kate Elliott, is an enjoyable fantasy. In a 200 page novella it has all the elements of a fantasy novel. The magic system was fairly unique, as well as who can wield what type of magic. There are the typical elements: fire, earth, water, air, and then aether. Aether mages can detect ailments, but not heal. Air mages can open up portals for ease of travel, which was a great way to maneuver air. The story is told in the third person narrative of the main protagonist, Fellian. The interesting twist in this book is that the monarchy that once ruled was benevolent, and lost a war to the Liberationists, who are now the despots. I felt this was a nice turn to the usual trope where the ruling kings, queens, or emperors are those that people rise up against. In Servant Mage, Fellian, is a servant and fire mage known as a Lamplighter. She can control fire and form it into lamps. Her powers as a mage, and those born with mage powers, are controlled by the Liberationist government and they are not permitted to develop them further. They are taken and put into servitude by the government, living miserable lives. Ms. Elliott has the Monarchists as the rebels trying to overthrow the Liberationists, trying to restore the monarchy. Because of Fellian’s talents as a fire mage, she is rescued from servitude by the Loyalists to help them free their brethren from mines where they were hiding. She reluctantly goes, only because she sees it as an opportunity to return home.
The world building was solid. Many parts were set in set in a European styled fantasy world, which was very realistic. The aether realm where they group must escape through at one point in was particularly well done. Ms. Elliott writes excellent action scenes that immerses the reader in them. The magic used had interesting components to it. It is important in the story when all five mages are present, and it presents another unique use of magic.
The characters were good, but it I found it hard to see much in the way of growth given the novel’s length. There was quite a bit packed into this book, so I didn’t feel a strong connection to the characters. I thought Fellian was a strong protagonist and she often surprised me as to what she would do. The Monarchists who have rescued her are an interesting group, and are kind to Fellian. While they need her, they will not force her to work with them if she does not choose too. Fellian did speak her mind often, and she grew more forceful as the book progressed. I would love to see more of her and what she is capable of in future books.
I would recommend this book and will read the next installment if this is a series, as it did leave off on a great cliffhanger.
Summary (from Netgalley)
They choose their laws to secure their power.
Fellian is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.
Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.
But Fellian has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…
Find out more about Kate Elliott on her website at http://www.kateelliott.com/
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