ARC Book Review: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
ashley | The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso felt magical from the moment I saw that beautiful cover. I was cautiously optimistic with the premise and love discovering new up and coming authors, hopeful that they’ll present something new that will completely sweep me away.
There was something magical about this and I was quite swept away, but not for the reasons I anticipated. Sure, the world building was great and the characters were strong and interesting, but for once, I was mostly smitten with the growing relationship in the book as opposed to the rest of the elements. The relationship, that is, between the Falconer and her Falcon; Heiress Lady Amalia Cornaro and street smart Zaira.
This wasn’t a romantic relationship, but one could argue it was almost more complicated. Amalia unintentionally caging care-free Zaira and creating a bond between two people who can’t and won’t be tied down. Two people who don’t at all trust each other, but are forced to put their lives and interests in the other’s hands. I loved this blossoming relationship and it was a real treat to see the focus of a book be about trust and friendship and that kind of bond, as opposed to romantic. There was romance though, of course, but it wasn’t love at first sight, it wasn’t overbearing and it actually worked really well to compliment the other story lines.
There’s a lot happening here, different locations, different people, all with different agendas. And yet not a lot actually does happen. It’s a lot of talk and character building and leading up to something significant, but we have a ways to get there before that happens. Sometimes I felt a little dragged down by the politics of it all, but the general story and direction it was headed was interesting enough to keep me reading. There also ended up being a whole lot of random finger pointing, leaving me not knowing who to trust or believe, which was a nice touch.
The writing is strong and the story never loses it’s momentum or destination, despite all the political tones and messaging throughout. It does leave things open for a sequel, but it also nicely wraps up this first part, leaving the reader with a sense of satisfaction and hope, as well as a desire to find out what comes next.
I quite enjoyed the characters, they didn’t solely fit one cliche you expect to find in books like this and the women in here were fierce and strongly independent, which I applaud. I found this genuinely a strong read, very smart and definitely something worth pushing through the political aspects if you’re one who finds that a little dragging. I look forward to seeing what gets set on fire in the sequel.
october 24, 2017