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Warrior Mage by Lindsay Buroker

Warrior Mage

by Lindsay Buroker

Other authors: Shelley Holloway (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chains of Honor (1)

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283389,858 (3.9)2



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Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

Warrior Mage is a heart stopping race of action from beginning to end with magic battles, a treasure to find, dubious allies, and unknown gifts along with an overlooked critical element. It speaks to a tradition of adventure novel that has been done poorly, but it’s not the case here. Between complex characters and a well-drawn world, I was sucked right in. The book is the beginning to an epic adventure, and as such, true victory has not been achieved, but the specific trial has been overcome…for now…giving a satisfying conclusion as well as the need for more.

The characters are fascinating and mysterious in many ways. Though Dak carries most of the mystery as the not-so-trusted advisor and bodyguard, and Lakeo manages to surprise despite her blunt speaking, Yanko, the main character, holds the most mystery. Though he claims the point of view, I suspect he doesn’t truly know himself nor do I think what he knows of his family is the whole truth, though it may be a matter of degree.

It’s the last that makes this book so strong. It’s a simple adventure with a command given from someone in power and Yanko tasked to carry it out. Or at least it sounds simple. Add in the need to regain the family honor, the task being something that many parties want to achieve both within his culture and the others in this world, and cultural differences that act as almost insurmountable barriers, and there’s nothing simple about this at all.

Also, there are little hints of things, seeds laid that have yet to bear fruit but which speak to a bigger story. I’ve mentioned already I suspect there’s more to his family history than he knows, but there’s also more to Yanko than he is aware of. For me, though, what holds the book together, and holds my attention, is nothing more than the cultural setup of the world. The combination of a society built on magic and a society built on technology might be familiar, but add in another culture happy to share what it knows and use economy rather than force to establish itself, and things get more complex.

The story occasionally has elements that feel out of place, but only because so much of it occurs on the magic side. In a culture with armed submarines, the mention of “button-down shirts” does not stand out, but in a magic world, it’s unexpected. This speaks more to my biases than the story’s, and offered an interesting insight into my reader experience.

Another example of how the world and Yanko’s experience is multilayered is found in Yanko’s magic. The magic that calls to him is earth magic, growing things and communicating with animals. In Yanko’s culture, this is considered women’s magic (though with female warrior mages, that’s an odd thing to use as a dismissive) and all the focus is on fire magic. This is so true that Yanko knows using his magic in the very beginning where he is trying for a spot in the academy will work against, not for him. However, this bias is not held in the next culture he visits where earth magic is taught and explored as a critical element, showing the three cultures we interact with to be separate and distinct for more than just their physical forms (and yes, there is size, shape, and skin color bias evident as well).

Ultimately, it’s an intriguing story with characters well-worth spending time with for an adrenaline rush that hardly ever slows down…even when they spend time researching in a library because of the troubles they have there. But it’s also a fun, multicultural exploration with both culture clashes and biases to hinder and aid them. ( )
  MarFisk | Apr 26, 2016 |
I love that this new series is bringing together a large number of my favorite characters from the Emperor's Edge series as well as the Swords and Salt Collection. It had been awhile since I read both series and so it took me a bit for some reason to place Akstyr. The others I remembered easily so how could I have forgotten the unorthodox, sarcastic, gangly, and clueless Akstyr?

There are some new characters as well. My favorite is Kei. Worth reading just to meet this fun new character.

Now since I have been given this venue to share my opinion I am going to broaden the venue to assume that it also is here to serve my desires. So...

1) How about bringing us some Ridge, Sardelle, Tolemek and Cas. They would be great treasure hunters!
2) I really want to meet Yanko's infamous warrior mage turned pirate mother. That should prove interesting.
3) Please don't retire my favorite assassin!

Back to the book review...

This is pure fantasy but of the best kind. The scrapes these characters get into and out of go way beyond plausibility. It's fantasy! It is really fun fantasy though, of the type that would make an incredible action movie if millions were available to make it just right. Lindsay...you are an incredible self-published author. You ready for Hollywood?

I loved this book and am looking forward to the rest in the series.

I was given a review copy of this book by the author for my honest opinion. Thank you as always Lindsay.

For all of my reviews please see my blog at: https://blessedandbewildered.wordpress.com ( )
  ZoeSchoppa | Jul 31, 2015 |
Lindsay Buroker’s books are always good for a fast-paced, page-turning ride—and Warrior Mage is no exception. It’s the first in the author’s new Chains of Honor series and there is never a dull moment, from the beautiful cover to a closing scene that leaves the reader chomping at the bit for what happens next. I was delighted to take the author up on her offer of a free read in exchange for an honest review. So here it is!

Buroker takes seriously the instructions to “start in the middle of the action.”

The main character, Yanko, starts the story with a bang, duking it out on the testing grounds of the elite Stargrind school of magic, chosen to redeem his family from disgrace because he’s the only one who can wield magic. Things don’t slow down after that, though there are a few places where you can at least catch your breath. Set in the same world as the Emperor’s Edge books, this tale offers a view from the continent of Nuria, but the author has promised some appearances from some old characters — indeed, one of them shows up in Warrior Mage. Not telling which. You’ll have to read and find out for yourself!

Yanko is eighteen. He’s still a kid—but he’s not. He’s got some growing up to do, and the Fates are seeing to it. I love how Buroker has made him smart (but not too smart), inexperienced, naïve in spite of himself, arrogant (in the way that only teens can be arrogant), and confused. I love the way that circumstances have pushed him along, and he goes without stopping to think about it the way an adult might. Another intriguing aspect of the story is how he deals with — and learns more about — magic. Without being formally schooled, he has the option of being creative, of exploring through participation. His specialty is the earth sciences, and they are not particularly popular in the rest of his world.

And his new bodyguard? Dak is Turgonian—the enemy. He’s also full of mystery and unexplained secrets and activities. In spite of the enmity between their countries (or perhaps because of it, we’ll have to read more to learn!), he takes a particular shine to his new charge. At least a dozen times I wondered out loud, “WHAT is going on in that man’s head?”

Besides the bodyguard, Yanko has a sidekick, too. Laeko may have Turgonian blood (also frowned upon in this neck of the woods), she’s an artist, she is curious and loyal—and drips sarcasm. Gotta love that gal.

The three of them embark on a secret quest that far too many people know about. From the outset they are dodging attacking armies, mage hunters, betrayal, explosions, confusion, secrets, plots within plots, suspicion and murder… And, without turning the story into a comedy, there is Buroker’s trademark humor. She knows exactly how to use it in just the way normal people would reacting to things out of their control or terrifying to the point of the ridiculous. I know that’s what I do, and that’s probably why Buroker’s stories work so well for me.

So. Question: When is the next book in the series coming? ( )
  RobinLythgoe | Jul 6, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lindsay Burokerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holloway, ShelleyEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mollica, GeneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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