Format: Mass Market Paperback, 642pp
Pub. Date: September 2007
I don’t read a lot of epic fantasy; I’m intimidated by the large page count and tiny words. Not to say that I haven’t read anything along these lines but when it comes to this genre I tend to prefer Tolkien. But I’d been reading for weeks how good The Innocent Mage was, Karen Miller’s first in her Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duo, and I just had to see what all the fuss was about.
The characters are what really make this book readable. Asher, Matt, Danthe, Prince Gar and the way they all interact is fantastic. I read the first 200 pages of the book in one sitting and just could not put it down.
We first meet Asher, our hero, as he is leaving behind his small fishing village. He’s the youngest of the family and stands to inherit the smallest piece of the family business so he decides to seek his fortune in the city. I know this is a pretty typical beginning, it’s nothing you haven’t read before, but Asher jumps off the page and is larger than life. He is a fantastically real character and makes the cliché work.
Once in the city Asher stops Prince Gar’s horse from bolting. Asher is blunt and upfront and doesn’t particularly care either way for royalty. Because of his honesty, Prince Gar offers him a job working in the Prince’s stables which Asher accepts. This is where he meets Matt and Danthe, two members of a secret Olken circle who live their lives by an ancient prophecy dedicated to saving the world. Everything seems to be going well for Asher; he has a good job and has made friends, except that we know otherwise.
There are two races of people living in the kingdom of Lur, Doranen and Olken. The Doranen race is able to perform magic, the royalty is Doranen and all the higher offices are held by them. The Olken’s are considered the lower race, they keep the harder jobs and while they hold office it is still lower than the Doranen. The Doranen are very protective of their magic as well and it is believed that no Olken has the talent to work the magics that the Doranen’s do.
So with this powder keg of potential unrest waiting to blow we learn that Asher is none other than the Innocent Mage, the very same mage that prophecy has said would come and save the world. Danthe has been waiting for a very long time and with Asher’s coming she knows it signifies the end times. But from what is Asher meant to save the world from and why must he be kept innocent about his potential magic?
The Innocent Mage is full of vibrant characters and a decent plot. Ms. Miller effortlessly weaves each character’s perspective into the story, each voice unique and solid. You spend a lot of time getting to know the players and that only serves to make them more life like. The story continues with The Awakened Mage, the final installment in Asher’s tale. Which you just have to read once you’ve finished this one because of the cliff hanger ending.