Published by Orbit on May 1st 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Source: Own Copy
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Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe... Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts. Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl's power intrigues him-in spite of her low status. Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan's ambition and Barl's power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won't be denied. A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller's bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.
The aim of The Blight of Mages is to explain the flight of the Doranen to the land of Lur and to set up the story for the King Maker, King Breaker series. When I originally brought this book I had no idea that it was a prequel; however this did not affect my reading experience.
The book started and ended well, however there was pacing issues in the middle of the book. I could not motivate myself to read, and I went from caring about the characters and their desires to thinking that they were annoying and arrogant; its no wonder the Guild turned against them.
Yet it is this arrogance which make Barl and Morgan and which pushes the story forward. Both are trapped by the strict social hierarchy of Doranen – ranked vs. unranked – with has nothing to do with the level of power each individual holds.
Barl is a unranked magician with power that surpasses many of her superiors. When we first meet her is arrogant, selfish and convinced of her own superiority, her one redeeming feature is the love she feels for her brother, Remmie. Nevertheless there are times where she allows her selfishness to hurt him. However towards the end of the book when Barl realised the damage done through her arrogance she is humbled and willing to help the people of Doranen.
Morgan, on the other hand, is a ranked powerful magician, who has secured a sit on the Council of Mages. He too is frustrated that his superior talents go largely unrecognised.
When Barl and Morgan mean they are two kindred spirits. Love (or lust) is what brings them together but it is their ability to create new magework that binds them together.
Overall The Blight of Mages was an enjoyable book and the books succeeded in persuading me to read. Anyone who has read Miller’s other work will enjoy this book.