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The Sentinel Mage by Emily Gee
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The Sentinel Mage

by Emily Gee

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To start with my conclusion: it was an entertaining read with sympathetic characters. But the plot and the situation are fairly predictable, the secondary characters could do with some more development—yes, they're secondary characters, but the men especially were starting to run together in my mind—and the world-building was pretty barebones. Still, I enjoyed reading this book and I'd like to read the next in the trilogy. ( )
  Silvernfire | Mar 24, 2015 |
Sentinel Mage is your standard high fantasy fare with light romance. It’s a largely character-driven story with an interesting magic system, and Emily Gee has a straightforward, no-frills writing style that makes the pages seem to fly by. In addition to the main plot, there are two subplots revolving around a boy named Jaumé and Princess Brigitta. These side-plot chapters are very short, but Princess Brigitta’s story in particular is quite engaging. A few parts made my inner feminist cringe, especially the rape and slut-shaming. I would have definitely enjoyed the story more if not for these elements. But overall, it was still an entertaining read, if not particularly deep or complex; good, but for me it never quite developed into something great. I will still probably read the second book in the trilogy, but be wary - there may be a long wait in between books two and three if the three-year gap between the first two installments is any indication. ( )
  les121 | Aug 19, 2014 |
Goodreads Blurb:
Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.

In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.

Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him.

But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.

A stunning saga has begun with this book. Sweeping scenery, compelling characters, plots and conspiracies, all twisted between those taught to abhor magic and those trying to save them all, with the help of their magic. Into a land peopled by those who eradicated all traces of magic long ago come people who are magic, and together they must find a way to stop an ancient curse before it destroys all the people of the land.

Of course the land is broken up into kingdoms, and the one person who can stop the curse comes from one of the most ruthlessly held kingdoms. He is a prince whose father is a hard man, anxious to maintain the family legacy of expanding their territory, and he'll stop at nothing to redeem his name. Not even if it means he must use his own flesh and blood to get what he wants.

Prince Harkeld is a great protagonist, albeit a very reluctant one. For the only reason he is the savior is due to his tainted blood. It turns out he has been bred for this very purpose, and though he may become the savior everyone needs, he will lose everything he's ever known before that can happen. His fear and frustration are palpable, making for unpleasant travel companions. Especially when he loses his last hope, or so he thinks at the time. But is it really?

Of the mages that have come to help him stop the curse, Innis is the central figure. The youngest Sentinel in history, she is also stronger than any of her companions. Yet she is the least experienced, and struggles with feelings and situations she's never faced before. One of those problems she faces are her changing feelings for the Prince.

In the midst of this epic tale stands the brave young Princess Brigitta. She is related to Prince Harkeld, and had been using him as a shield from their father, who wants to marry her off to a horrid Duke. The Duke is a man just like the King, grasping, greedy, cruel, and small-minded. Can she survive her betrothal to him? Yes. But when the wedding date looms, will she be able to stand being his wife, or will she take her own life to escape the life of never ending torment facing her?

The world is well developed, just as the characters are. The conflicts are viscerally real, yet those working to stop the curse must learn to set aside their ingrained prejudices if they want to have a snowball's chance in hell of surviving the coming times. The reactions and responses of the characters are unfailingly authentic, making for an excellent read, while the pacing is steady and continually engaging regardless of whose story is currently being told. An excellent start to an epic fantasy that will most certainly earn its place alongside the other beloved epic tales by internationally renowned authors. ( )
  Isisunit | Jul 31, 2014 |
If you are looking for the next Martin, Tolkien or Jordan this is not for you but if you want a light, quick reading but thoroughly enjoyable Fantasy story, the first part of a trilogy, then this is certainly worth checking out. ( )
  twiglet12 | Nov 22, 2011 |
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In memory of Katy,
who died January 7th 2010

And with deep thanks to M and M
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Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince - and the Seven Kingdoms. In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage's blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head - and assassins at his heels. Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld's side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him. But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.… (more)

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