Fear of magic may spark the next world war in the new fantasy series from Stephen Aryan, set in the same world as Battlemage.
Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with magical ability.
As a series of mysterious deaths place the seat of magical learning 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.
Set in the aftermath of the devastating magic war that shaped events in Aryan's Age of Darkness trilogy, this tangled first Age of Dread novel brings insight and understanding to ways that a primarily non-mage society responds to the dangers and possibilities of a magically gifted subpopulation. The author divides his narrative into three plots featuring the novel's principal characters: Wren, Tianne, and Danoph, young students learning how to control and refine their magic powers from teachers at the Red Tower; Munroe and Tammy, guardians searching for someone who went missing in the course of recruiting students; and Habreel and Akosh, two scheming rabble-rousers who hope to stir up trouble that will result in the banishment of mages from Zecorria and the surrounding kingdoms. Working on an intimate and personal scale, Aryan devotes considerable attention to developing his characters, showing how they're affected by the events that have made the mages' families and countrymen so afraid of them. He also enlivens his tale with abundant politics, intrigues, double-crossings, and plot twists to keep the pacing brisk and whet readers' appetites for future installments.
Unfulfilling and expectd
While I enjoyed reading the original trilogy this book proved unsatisfying. It rather reminded me of an office potluck, filled with questionable foods that don’t make a cohesive meal and awkward dialogue between casual strangers forced to share space. The premise is plausible given the events in the previous books, but the various plot threads feel forced, as though they should each be their own, unrelated books. Maybe there was pressure to produce something, anything, to keep the world going, but I was very disappointed by the unexpected blah-ness of this read. The Tammy and Munroe threads were the only interesting parts of the book for me, and I found myself skimming through large chunks of writing to find something interesting happening. Overall the book reads like pieces of multiple short stories were thrown together in a common setting, shaken until they mixed without blending, and presented as a novel.