Title: The Sentinel Mage [The Cursed Kingdoms 1]
Author: Emily Gee
Rating: 4.5 Star rounded up to 5
Series Review: 1, 2, 3
Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.
In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.
Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him.
But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I was really surprised and pleased with how much I loved this book. After reading some of the reviews on goodreads I was a little bit worried that I had gotten myself into something I wasn’t going to find really appealing. How wrong I was! I really have to wonder why people didn’t get into this story because I soaked it up like a sponge.
Some people said that it was a cliche kind of book and I have to agree here. The content isn’t very original with a curse, a journey, assassins, and a war, the elements are all things we have seen in stories before. However, the fact that I have read about all these things before I didn’t even notice because they were put together in such a good way. The pace of the story was very steady. Its not slow through the chunks of world or character building, and the action back parts of story don’t move so fast that you feel worn out after everyone. If this kind of pacing isn’t for you I might suggest skipping this one, but I found it really enjoyable and really helped prepare me for the books ending.
The story is presented to us in multiple The first one we are introduced to is Jaumé, an young eight year old boy whose family was effect and killed by the curse. At first I thought he was in the book purely to show us how the curse was actually effecting people but as the story went on his tale became more complex and I really cannot wait to see where it goes from here. We also get the view point of Princess Brigitta and her household to show us how things are going in lands that are not yet affected by the curse and the tension of brimming war. I really liked Brigitta, she is a strong character who learns to overcome and endure the horrible things that happen to her on a daily basis and is willing to risk her life for the good of others. Then we have the travelling crew of mages like Innis and Prince Harkeld which tells are the hardship of those trying to destroy the curse. I really can’t wait to see how all of these are going to connect and link further on in the story!
Innis and Harkeld would be our main characters in the story I think and they have steady character development through the book. Innis has to deal with having to act as a man for most of her time and having to deal with the fact that she likes it. She likes feeling physically strong. Harkeld has to deal with being around ‘witches’ who he considers monsters, and the fact that he himself has witch blood and magic powers. The magic powers isn’t brought up until later in the book but you could totally see it come from the start. Then they both have to deal with this budding romance that is introduced through the form of dreams. Innis is the only one that understand that they are both having them but Harkeld still has to get over the fact he is dreaming about witches. I wonder to myself if this romance will turn out to be a way to convince Innis that being a man isn’t so great and Harkeld that witches are not so bad, but I will have to wait till I get more of the story to find out.
There were parts that were not very thought through though. It is mentioned that Fire, Shapeshifting, and Healing are the main and most common mage magic, but is never explained why that actually was and that annoyed me. Harkeld seems to be very perspective on which shapeshifter is which when they are not in human form, yet he doesn’t seem to question why one of them is always missing, specially Innis who he kind of keeps tabs on. I also didn’t fully care about most the characters.
So yes, if you like steady fantasy stories that will get bigger with each book I would recommend this book to you. I am so excited to start the next one.
Till Next Time…