The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller – Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings Reviews The Innocent Mage, the first in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology, written by Karen Miller, and published by Orbit Books.
“The Innocent Mage is an awesome debut, one that you will find enjoyable despite the clichés that it contains.” ~The Founding Fields
I’ve recently finished The Innocent Mage, as you’re probably aware from the fact that I’m giving you this review. As you’re no doubt aware by now, it’s the first in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology (The second being The Awakened Mage), and focuses on Asher, who leaves his miserable life in a coastal city in the hope of making a fortune. Employed in the stables, Asher soon finds his dreams coming true, befriending the Prince Gar, and receiving more wealth than he could ever hope of getting as a fisherman.
Asher becomes unknowingly part of a prophecy, and is watched by enigmatic members of a group called The Circle, who have dedicated to protect what they call “The Innocent Mage”, who is the character destined to save them from evil. And they believe that Asher is that character…
Yeah, it doesn’t sound that original does it? But, let’s move aside from that and talk about what good things this book contains. First of all, the characters. As it’s your average fantasy plot, you may think that the characters are weak an undeveloped. But oh no, far from it. By the end of the book, you’ll be on good terms with the characters. You’ll like them. This is perhaps the strongest part of The Innocent Mage, the characters, be they Asher with his country-drawl (at least in the first half of the novel), or the King himself, as they are believable, and they quickly become characters who you find yourself thinking that you’ve known them all your life, despite the fact that Asher’s way of speaking is kind of hard to get used to at first.
The world created by Miller is richly developed, and although she didn’t explain much about the magic system, I believe we will see more about it in The Awakened Mage, which I can say that I’m looking forward to.
Although the pacing is uneven at first, I for one enjoyed the book despite the flaws that I found within its pages. Sure, it’s not the most original work, but it might just be one of the better ‘prophecy’-type novels that you’ve read yet. Although it isn’t exactly a page-turner, The Innocent Mage is a slow read with some parts that you may feel drag the story down a bit, and I can only hope that after reading this, The Awakened Mage will have to be one hell of a read to make up for the action that this book lacked.
Miller manages to turn the typical prophecy thing found in your average fantasy novel around though, and actually explores the characters that are involved with it and how it affects their life. We see multiple Point of Views from one of the main characters in this novel, the female Dathne, who shares the most screen time with Asher.
The plot is dragged out, and not much happens in The Innocent Mage making it feel like it’s only setting the scene for The Awakened Mage, especially with the cliffhanger that the book ends on. I can’t help but want to go and pick up the last book in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker Duology, and I just get annoyed with ‘books’ like these. You get your novel and then you read it, enjoying it, only to find that it’s merely half a book. Hardly anything is tied up at the end of this novel; making reading The Awakened Mage almost a necessary read if you are to understand The Innocent Mage fully.
Another thing that could be improved is the fact that the evil guy is outright evil. He’s just evil, nothing else, and in fact, he’s the only character that you don’t feel like you’re good friends with by the end of the book. (Well, he is the villain after all, and he doesn’t appear until the end of the book).
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention this again as I bring this review to a close. The Innocent Mage may not be the most original book, nor the cleverest or the most action-packed novel out there, but if you’re anything like me, then you should enjoy it and you’ll keep coming back for more. The Innocent Mage could also be classed as a nice introduction to Fantasy, as it doesn’t leave the reader totally lost and sticks to a tried and tested plot. A good first novel for Miller, and I’ll be looking to read more of her work.
More Kingmaker, Kingbreaker: The Innocent Mage, The Awakened Mage.
More Karen Miller: Empress, The Riven Kingdom, Hammer of God, The Prodigal Mage, The Reluctant Mage,