Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Review: The Last Mage Guardian
The Last Mage Guardian by Sabrina Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very high four stars for this well-written tale of a young woman who finds herself in charge of the magical defense of Europe, some years after a devastating war started by the French.
It's set in an alternate world, not fully steampunk but sufficiently steampunkish that Amazon suggested it to me because I'd read Lindsay Buroker. The date appears to be mid-to-late 19th century, from scattered clues. There are trains, but it's magic rather than technology that gets the emphasis. The North American continent appears to be called Atlantea, and the countries of Europe have different names, their cities have different spellings, and there are other geopolitical differences like the continuation of a separate country of Bretagne distinct from France (or Gaul). The most similar thing I've read is James Calbraith's [b:The Shadow of Black Wings|15755864|The Shadow of Black Wings (The Year of the Dragon, #1)|James Calbraith|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346835901s/15755864.jpg|21382847], though the history is closer to ours than it is in Calbraith.
Although there's a romance subplot between the two viewpoint characters, the emphasis is on the adventure and the magic, with a great boss battle at the end. Flooding cellar, explosions, collapsing masonry, levitation, it's all good stuff.
The editing (and writing) is fully as good as you'll find from any big publisher (and better than you'll often get from HarperCollins), and I'll have no hesitation in adding this to my Indie Books Worth Reading list on my website (http://csidemedia.com/gryphonclerks/indie-books-worth-reading/).
There doesn't appear to be a sequel yet, but this was published in the middle of last year, so I have hopes. I liked both the main characters, enjoyed the world, and was happy to accept the more cinematic parts of the story in their own terms.
I'll be taking a look at the author's other work, which is mostly science fiction that claims to be in the tradition of Lois McMaster Bujold. I'm a huge Bujold fan, and I approach that claim with a little skepticism, but this author does seem to have the skills to pull off a good military space opera.
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