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Servant Mage (2022)

by Kate Elliott

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765301,454 (3.63)4
"An absolute gem of a story... I loved it." --S. A. ChakrabortyThey choose their laws to secure their power.Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.But Fellian has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve...… (more)
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There is a reason that there is a distant feeling for the characters in this adventure in which a young servant mage, a person bound into service by the Liberationists who a couple of generations earlier ousted the Monarchists, is taken by a small group of Monarchists who require her specific ability to rescue some of their trapped forces. But the result of the distancing is to remove immediacy from the telling. The same adventure could have been told as a better read, but this is a better story than going the default route. ( )
  quondame | Feb 22, 2022 |
I have read well over a thousand fantasy and sci/fy novels over the years and this is one of the worst. I noticed that the author has published over twenty novels in the genre in the past so I was expecting something good. It seems that Ms. Elliott is just going through the motions rushing to get to the end to get to the next book in a series. The characters and settings are not well developed and the plot is very sketchy. ( a young girl with powers is kidnaped to help rescue a baby in an ill defined revolution).. Don't waste you time on this one. ( )
  muddyboy | Feb 16, 2022 |
Pros: interesting politics, fascinating magic system, fun characters

Cons: too short

Fellian is rescued from her indentured servitude by a group of Monarchists who need her help as a Lamp - a fire mage. But are the Monarchists really any better than the liberationists that overthrew them years ago?

This is a novella so you’re not getting the in dept world-building you might be hoping for. It’s a bit of a shame as the world is interesting and I’d have loved to learn more about the politics and magic. I loved the idea that human magic is caused by demon-wraiths nesting in their bones. The politics were complicated and messy as expected when a revolution has recently occurred.

Fellian asks a lot of questions, annoying her companions but giving the reader vital information. She’s clever and resourceful. Her team is an interesting mix and I enjoyed their dynamic.

The book is fast paced and compelling.

This is a quick, enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote Strider66 | Jan 18, 2022 |
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Servant Mage had the potential to be a great fantasy, but the story felt too rushed and the characters were sadly underdeveloped. I hated how little information we were given about the world we were thrown into, and the small revelations are told during info-dumping paragraphs instead of learned along the way. A good fantasy is believable despite its unbelievability, and Elliot didn't quite manage that with this one.

It also had several errors right off the bat, even for an ARC. Fellion was left a single dumpling so as not to upset her stomach (malnourished), yet the very next page she's grabbing a second one. Small inconsistencies like this don't normally bother me, but they do tend to stick out like a sore thumb. There were numerous spelling and grammatical errors as well, but hopefully those are taken care of before the book's publication.

Additionally, I wish we'd been given more explanations as to how the world worked. Fellion mentioned and alluded to having more than two parents. She called one Older Father and one Younger Father, in addition to her Mother and Grandmother. Why did she have more than one father? Was this commonplace for the people within the book, or an unusual circumstance for the main character?

I think knowing so little about the world contributed to certain sentences and statements not making sense. "Shey tipped a hand to his ear, a movement she saw as the heat of his body shifting position." Eh? What's that supposed to mean? Shey then does something weird with his hands that lets them travel a great distance in a few steps, but it's only vaguely explained, and I really need my fantastical stories to make sense within the confines of the book's world (or world's).

I also hate it when people are running for their lives but can stop to appreciate and comment on another character's looks. Really? If I'm scared to death, fleeing people who would hurt or kill me, someone's cheekbones are not going to be a priority.

I wish the author hadn't rushed this story and had taken more time to develop the world and its characters. I think Servant Mage has a unique concept, so I'm disappointed by how superficial and surface level everything felt. (★★☆☆☆)

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2 vote doyoudogear | Jan 1, 2022 |
Elliott is known for writing big, dense books. This one is much shorter, novella length or only slightly longer. The worldbuilding is dense, and fascinating. Characterizations are good, and the plot moves along. It could easily be the start of a long series, but it also stands alone well. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Sep 6, 2021 |
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"An absolute gem of a story... I loved it." --S. A. ChakrabortyThey choose their laws to secure their power.Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.But Fellian has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve...

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