Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Mages Blood Mage's Blood
by David Hair
Jo Fletcher Books

Supplied for review by Jo Fletcher Books

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Mage’s Blood is the first volume of in the Moontide quartet the latest fantasy world envisioned by David Hair and is his first sally in the crowded world of non-young adult novels (I would have used the term non-juvenile as the marketing term used to be, but that may now carry pejorative connotations), having until now written two young adult trilogies and a quartet.

Mage’s Blood is set on the world of Urte, where the two vast continents of Yuros and Antiopia are separated by a narrow but dangerous strait that every twelve years, during a moontide, is linked by a massive magical bridge. The story follows the stories of: Alaron, a trainee mage; Gurvon Gyle, a spymaster and possible rebel; Elena, an assassin turned bodyguard; and Ramita a lowly merchant’s daughter and the man she intends to marry, Kazim.

The continent of Yuros has been conquered by Rondian empire, which now has its sights on Antiopia the second continent. But the Rondian hold on Yuros is not as secure as it likes to believe, with sedition constantly bubbling below the surface, with Alaron and Gurvon representing two faces of that sedition. While Antiopia is neither a unified mass standing against the invading Rondians nor is it a fractious parcel of nations waiting to be overrun; with Elena, Ramita and Kazim giving an insight in to the tortured politics of that continent.

I enjoyed this first volume, but did find that the switching between storylines a bit annoying as the focus shifted just as I was getting invested in the current plot and characters.

This is a big story and I can see why Mr Hair needs feels he needs four volumes to tell the story properly. Anything less than three would be a hurried, mish mash of a series. Overall this was a satisfying entree of a book, with an amuse bouche denouement. Second, third and fourth courses to follow.

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