This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books I read back-to-back and are all part of the Eternal Mage Siege Series
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Mortal Blade by Christopher Mitchell
Narrator: Shaun Grindell
Series: Magelands Eternal Siege #1
Published by Tantor Audio on April 6, 2021
Length: 13 hours 42 minutes
I broke one of my rules and have read other book since finishing this… without writing the review. Partly because I’ve been really busy, but mostly because the other books were the next 2 books. I couldn’t put them down! Each book was progressively better. The challenge now is to remember what happened in which book.
A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon…
Stolen from his home, Corthie Holdfast has arrived in the City of the Eternal Siege as a new Champion.
He must fight alongside the Blades, whose lives are dedicated to the defence of the City against the hordes of monstrous Greenhides; or die at the hands of the Gods who rule.
Maddie Jackdaw, a young Blade, faces her last chance. Thrown out of every unit defending the City, either she takes on a new role, or she will be sent to the Rats, a company of misfits given the perilous tasks beyond the Great Walls.
Her new role, if she takes it, will bring her face to face with her deepest fears, for beneath the walls, in a secret and hidden lair, lies a dragon, imprisoned and waiting…
The Mortal Blade introduces us to the 4 main characters we follow through the series and, while I grew to love them all, at the start I was really only interested in a couple.
1. We first meet demi-god Aila. As demi-gods go, her ability to appear to mortals as anyone whom she chooses is pretty cool, but also pretty weak. She fought several hundred years ago on the wrong side and after a spending a good portion of those hundred years on “house arrest” she’s now serving the winning side, while working as a rebel on the side. Even though I did Lik Alia at the start, I wasn’t as invested in her story. Her life was very caught up with the god-queen and god-queen politics of the city and it got a bit confusing for me in this book. There’s a lot of gods and demigods in this world and it took me a little bit to get used to and understand who they all were.
2. I think the next character we meet is Maddie Jackdaw. She was a character I loved from the get-go and was really invested in early on. She’s mouthy and doesn’t just automatically obey, she questions and thus, gets into a lot of trouble. She’s been kicked out of just about every unit when we meet her and her mouth lands her into probably the greatest, but potentially scariest, assignment possible. This would be a spoiler, so I want say what she does, but it’s cool and makes following her exciting.
3. Another character we meet is Corthie Holdfast – a Champion for the city who was kidnapped from his home world. He’s a mortal but has super abilities, like the demigods/gods, like Battle Vision. I grew to like him, but at the start he was confusing to me in a similar way that Aila was confusing. He kept talking about how his sister was going to rescue him and I didn’t fully understand the god/demigod/battle vision stuff at this point in the series.
4. Finally we met Daniel Aurelian and he pretty much immediately became my favorite character. He’s Roser nobility and the only child with a lot of expectations weighing him down. His complaints and concerns showed him pretty quickly to be someone of good character, but flawed. So yeah, I liked him a lot.
The world – as I’ve already hinted it – is a bit complex. This has an epic fantasy feel and in some ways made me think of Game of Thrones. I’d very much like to see a map of this world as it feels like it could take place on a land mass about the size of Great Britain. And the city is under almost constant siege from these creature-people called greenhides that they’re all fighting against in their own ways. There’s a lot to grasp in this first book – but there’s also plenty of magic, dragons, gods, and action to make up for it. And I was very compelled, thanks in part to a cliff hanger, to keep going through the next 2 books.
I listened to this, narrated by Shaun Grindell and his narration was really good. I was a little surprised at first that it was a male narrator, since our first main character to meet is Aila. But he did a really god job with both the male and female characters. Really glad I choose to try it and in audio!
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Dragon's Blade by Christopher Mitchell
Narrator: Shaun Grindell
Series: Magelands Eternal Siege #2
Published by Tantor Audio on May 11, 2021
Length: 13 hours 23 minutes
A Champion in chains, a Demigod in hiding and a Dragon betrayed.
The new Prince of Tara rules the City of the Eternal Siege and nothing will get in his way – all must kneel before him or die.
But what is power without the woman he desires? For three hundred years, the Prince has longed for Aila, wanting her as his bride.
Now that the City is in his hands, he will do anything to possess her, even if it means plunging the City into a new Civil War.
Beneath the Great Walls, the heart of the black dragon is filled with despair. Back in chains with no hope of freedom, she longs for death. Her only reason to live is her rider – but is Maddie enough?
My lines are blurred on where this book begins and the last one ends, but I do know this is where things went from good to great. Already attached to several of the characters and having a better understanding of the world, I was able to get really lost (in a good way) in the scheming, plotting, fight for survival, and politics.
While I don’t remember exactly where the last book ends, I do know it was on a cliff hanger and things are starting to boil over in the city. I grew much more invested in Aila and Corthie by this point (the cliff hanger revolved around them) and also just super excited to see how/if they would survive everything that transpired.
A character that we were briefly introduced to in the previous book – Daniel’s bride Emily (Aurelian now) – really shines through in this book. I had a feeling I liked her in the last one, but now she overshadowed everyone else and is my absolute favorite. So much about her is spoiler though, so I’ll just say she is strong and smart and brave all in one. Love her!
The action and plot momentum really picked up the pace in this book – maybe because I understand the world better – and the book flew by. The narration continued to be great, Shaun Grindell delivered great voices and accents, also propelling the book along.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Prince's Blade by Christopher Mitchell
Narrator: Shaun Grindell
Series: Magelands Eternal Siege #3
Published by Tantor Audio on June 8, 2021
Length: 13 hours 49 minutes
The nightmare has begun… but where is the Black Dragon?
After a thousand years, the Eternal Enemy has breached the Great Walls, devastating great swathes of the City. Thousands lie dead, while the survivors huddle behind the old and decaying walls of the inner defences.
With the greenhides on one side, and the corrupt and cruel regime of the ruling Gods on the other, the people of the City await their end.
All that stands in the way is a disgraced Champion, a tortured God and two Mortals from a forgotten legend…
So this series apparently goes on for several more books, but I feel like this was a trilogy within the series, because I’m satisfied with this as an ending point. I can see space for a lot of spin-off stories for sure and maybe that’s what the rest of the series is? But for me, this is a great conclusion. Which is good, because this is also the last book I have so far 🙂
And can I say it went from good (book 1) to great (book 2) to FANTASTIC (this book).. dare I say Epic?
The whole time you’ve been feeling and predicting how all these characters who are essentially fighting for the same thing will finally get intertwined and in this book it FINALLY happens. And not at all how I expected. The greenhide threat has reached max and people are fleeing for their lives. Battles are happening everywhere. And the characters we met back in book 1 are all showing their true colors. Emily and Daniel Aurelian are the stars of the show for me… favorites since the beginning.
It was non-stop excitement, a few moments where I was brought to actual tears and a few times I sat in the car when I reached my destination so I could just finish the chapter. I feel like I’m not fully describing the book, but there’s just so much about it that would be spoiler… all I can say is – if you enjoy fantasy – epic fantasy – this is definitely a series worth picking up. These first 3 books are making my top books of 2021 list for sure!
And boy am I glad I listened to these books. The narration was great and I grew to have an even greater appreciation for Shaun Grindell’s accents. Turns out, the accents are an identifier of class in this world and play an actual important part in the plot of this book. Thanks to his narration, it made sense and I could actually HEAR what they were talking about. Brilliant!