The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #2

My review of The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #1) can be found here

"The evil foretold has risen ... and we are all that stands between it and the end."

Asher has come a long way for a fisherman's son. Together with his friend Prince Gar, he has defended their kingdom against its bitterest enemy, but at great cost.
Now, the evil mage Morg is preparing for his most deadly assault. Desperate, trapped in a broken body, Morg has little time and fewer scruples. And he has a plan.
As Gar and Asher unwittingly fall into a dangerous deception, Morg gets ever closer to his goal. And this victory would be particularly sweet - for who better to destroy the kingdom than the two who would give anything to save it?

Looking back at both this book and the first one, it's hard to review them apart. They're not so much a series as just one long story, one book that turned out too long to be published, and thus had to be split up into two.

Like the first it's well written and very mature fantasy (I think my mind is so baffled by the very YA book I'm reading currently, that all else seems very grown up and rational).

The first book more or less is all about introducing the characters - book two would have been better if it had done a better job developing them and moving them forwards. Thinking about it the only one who changes is Darran. The rest remain the exact same throughout the story, from beginning to end. Dathne is always bossy, Asher is always noble but blunt, Matt is always dependable but quiet and so on.

I grew more distanced from Asher in this one though, enjoying Gar better. Dathne annoys me; she annoyed me in the first book and gets no redeeming qualities in this one. Matt I never get to properly know and Morg is just evil - evil because that's the plot-moving point of his character. The same goes for Jarralt, though he's not exactly evil, just greedy, selfish and cruel. And this Barl we keep hearing about? A woman who died 500+ years ago, a sorceress now worshipped as a deity? I would have liked to been given a more plausible identity for all of them and I would have liked to know more about the world they live in. We're told a vague background story for their present world and only given nightmarish glimpses of Morg's realm. The history they care so much about as well as the issue around magic is never explained properly to the reader, and in the end it's hard to empathise with any of it.

The ending disappointed me. With 50 pages to go, we still weren't anywhere near a plausible ending.  40 pages to go. 35 pages to go. And then BOOM. Everything - in very few pages. Such a condensed action-filled ending with the tiniest of wrap ups afterwards. All strings are tied up, there are no lose annoying ends, but the book is 678 pages long - surely a few more pages could have been spared for the ending?

The Awakened Mage 
(Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #2)
ISBN13: 9781841496054
678 pages / published in 2007
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

I actually started out rating this book 4 stars, but while writing my review and giving it proper thought, I realised that was too high.


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