The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #1) by Karen Miller

The Innocent Mage Blurb

Enter the kingdom of Lur, where to use magic unlawfully means death. The Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since arriving as refugees centuries ago. Theirs was a desperate flight to escape the wrath of a powerful mage who started a bitter war in their homeland. To keep Lur safe, the native Olken inhabitants agreed to abandon their own magic. Magic is now forbidden to them, and any who break this law are executed.

Asher left his coastal village to make his fortune. Employed in the royal stables, he soon finds himself befriended by Prince Gar and given more money and power than he’d ever dreamed possible. But the Olken have a secret; a prophecy. The Innocent Mage will save Lur from destruction and members of The Circle have dedicated themselves to preserving Olken magic until this day arrives. Unbeknownst to Asher, he has been watched closely. As the Final Days approach, his life takes a new and unexpected turn.

My Review of The Innocent Mage

The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, #1)The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story itself was ok, if nothing special. Asher appears to be a down to earth commoner, but he’s actually ‘The Innocent Mage’, a special snowflake who is destined to save the kingdom.

More interesting is Gar, a prince of a race of people all born with magic. Unfortunately, Gar was born without magic and is considered a cripple. He’s not allowed to become ruler and is passed over in the succession in favour of his younger sister.

I think this suffers a bit because I recently read Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy and there are a lot of similarities with it. Both feature a young, naive man who becomes a right-hand man to a prince that cares deeply for his people and is clearly the best person to become the next king.

Robin Hobb’s series is much more subtle and clever than the Innocent Mage, which looks juvenile in comparison. Maybe if I hadn’t just read that I would like this more.

There are other problems with it too though. Karen Miller writes her characters as very obviously ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There are no nuances allowed. Her good characters are kind, caring, and wise. They ignoring their own needs and health to work tirelessly for others.

Bad characters go around shouting and badmouthing everyone and work for their own pride and desires only. Every time a good character tries to do something good, they pop up to try to stop them. They overdress and overeat and in my mind, I couldn’t stop myself picturing them wearing black and wafting dalmatian skin capes around every time they show up to throw a spanner in the works.

Asher irritated me from the first moment he appeared on page. He’s written to be almost perfect, his down to earth nature and lack of regard for authority endure him to everyone he meets. Well, those that are written as ‘good’ characters anyway. He can do no wrong and everyone loves him.

At one point he’s in a javelin competition against a bad guy. The bad guy has been the champion of the javelins every year since he was young. Asher has been training with a javelin for a few weeks, and only learnt to ride a horse a year ago. Guess who wins?

Personally, I think Asher is just rude. He spends the whole book pointing out other people’s faults, and taking offence every time for perceived disrespect every time he has a conversation with someone.

Honestly, by the end of the book, I was rooting for the bad guy to win.

It’s not badly written, it’s 600 pages and I read the whole thing. It could just use a bit more imagination. It looks like the second book will have a lot more magic in it, and if I come across it I would probably buy it.

The Innocent Mage
Kingmaker, Kingbreaker
Karen Miller
September 2007
Paperback
642

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