Hey guys! First of all, I want to be real. I’m struggling right now. I’m approaching my course deadlines and the work is so intense. I’ve also just started a new job and while I’m really liking it so far, it’s been a full-on learning curve this week. I’ve not been sleeping well and I just really feel like my body and mind are taking a battering at the moment. So that’s why I’m having to step back from blogging a little. I hope you’ll bear with me while I get through this ❤
With all of that said, there’s no way I can let down the publishers who have been kind enough to send me review copies. So I’m going to keep on top of those as much as I’m able. It will just be slower than I would like.
Anyway! Today, I’m on the blog tour for Angel Mage, the new adult fantasy from Garth Nix! Thank you Gollancz for sending me an ARC 😀
More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.
A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.
Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.
But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.
The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else…
I have to say, this is a difficult one for me to review. I recently binge-read two exceptional adult fantasy trilogies and I feel like my brain might be a bit over-saturated? So please take everything I say with a pinch of salt! Any issues I have with this book could be all me.
But let’s talk about what I enjoyed first, shall we? This book is billed as a reimagining of The Three Musketeers and although I haven’t read that, I really liked the premise of this. And the fact that it was so female-heavy was fantastic. I really liked the different portrayals of women, from Liliath to Rochefort to Agnez (my personal favourite) and Dorotea. It was wonderful to watch the interactions and power dynamics unfolding as the book progressed. Though I will admit, Liliath very much became a stereotype at times.
I also thought the magic system was very cool, with angels being called upon via icons to do a mortal’s bidding. I haven’t read many angel-based stories but I thought this was very unique and interesting.
Sadly, I did have some issues with the world building. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers saying that the world building was one of their favourite aspects so I’m almost convinced that this is a personal issue with me. I just found it so confusing and really difficult to picture? I couldn’t get my head around this world at all. I’d like to revisit it at a point in the future when I have less going on in my head because I just really struggled and I feel like I could appreciate it so much more.
There were so many names to try and keep track of and complicated hierarchies and rules, I just couldn’t keep it all straight in my head. And that made it difficult to feel invested in what was unfolding or to properly connect with it.
So to round off this extremely incoherent and unhelpful review, I would just say – it wasn’t really for me ON THIS OCCASION. At another time, I might have loved this. And I hope that if YOU decide to read it, you will find a new favourite!
If you’re interested in finding out more about this book and what early readers are thinking of it, check out the other stops on the blog tour!
Are you a Garth Nix fan? Is this one that you’ll be picking up? Let me know in the comments! x