Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Warmage (The Spellmonger Series), by Terry Mancour

The second book in the series continues to follow the first person adventures of Minalan, the warmage and leader of the High Magi who knocks political heads together to try and establish a defence against the invading gurvani.

The chapters (excepting a bit at the end) flit between the front line and a few months previous when the protagonist sought to gain political recognition of the threat and backing for his defence. This works well, and it's pretty clear (not least because the chapter headings include a time and location) what happens where.

A small gripe is that early on I think there's too much catch-up info-dumping (explaining to/reminding the reader of what occurred in Spellmonger). With a direct sequel there is a need to remind the reader instead of diving straight into the action, but I think it's a shade overdone.

Minalan's magical randy adventures are just as engaging and easy to read as in Spellmonger, and I do like the way that certain mercenary units and individuals come into play. Reminds me a bit of The Black Company or Best Served Cold (although Warmage is not, and does not seek to be, as grim as the latter).

The political challenges Minalan faces are well-written, and I also like the increasing importance of certain secondary characters (Penny, Azar etc), and the growing subplot of Duke Rard and Duchess Grendine and their machinations.

Some have raised issue with the fact that he loves Alya but doesn't mind having sexy time with one or two others, but I think that the "I could be dead tomorrow" justification that the mage uses is entirely plausible.

The only other slight flaw I'd raise is that a bit more time spent checking for errors would've improved the book. It's pretty big and typos and other odd problems are bound to happen, but it's still a little noticeable.

On the whole, I very much enjoyed the second in the Spellmonger Series, and am looking forward to Magelord (Book 3), which is scheduled for next year.


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