Tag Archives: Michael G. Manning

Review: The Archmage Unbound (Mageborn Book Three)

The Archmage Unbound (Mageborn Book Three)

by Michael G. Manning

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Mordecai has to deal with his fallout of rebelling against King Edward to protect his people from the enemy invasion. He needs a way to find peace with the king and stop civil war to break out. He has his pregnant wife, Penny, and his friends to think about.

He also has to understand his own powers. He has rejected the method of control to keep mages from making pacts with dark gods and going insane. He has defied the king doing this just as much as his refusal to abandon his lands to the enemy forces. If he can’t understand what it means to be an archmage, all will be lost.

Can he do it while dealing with the political maneuverings of the King Edward and the realm? Will he prevail or will his naivety cause his undoing?s

This series gets better and better. Manning has some nice twists and turns that keeps the story flowing fast. It’s exciting and tense in turns with the characters still being a standout. Fans of indie fantasy have to give this series a try. He explore some nice themes and conflicts between his characters as they debate the ethics of ruling, of power, and what it means to be a good person. Great stuff.

Having fun with this series. Eager to read the next book!

You can buy The Archmage Unbound from Amazon.

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Review: The Line of Illiniel (Mageborn Book Two)

The Line of Illiniel (Mageborn Book Two)

by Michael G. Manning

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Mordecai, newly discovered to be both one of the last living mages and the heir to a small noble family, is trying to rebuild his family estate with the help of his adopted father and his fiancee, Penny. When people start disappearing in the night, Mordecai has to hone the craft of his self-taught magic to face it.

But a darker threat looms on the horizon: war.

When Penny has a vision that Mordecai will be slain in six months atop his castle walls, it’s confirmation to the rumors. The Gododdin are preparing for their invasion. Using what remaining time is left, Mordecai devotes it to protecting his people even if that means defying his king. Or his fiancee.

The Line of Illeniel expands on the world created in The Blacksmith’s Son, building on the magic and history hinted at. Mordecai has to face new problems, including his impending death. Penny’s visions are never wrong. That knowledge provides much of the tension between the characters. How can Mordecai have any hope of the future when his own fiancee is eager to die with him. He wants there to be something left to remember him, like any of us would.

Drowning in sorrow, you can feel his pain as he prepares to use his magic to kill thousands. The book mixes wry humor and harsh realities. It flows fast, the emotions bursting off the page, plunging towards the ending.

There is one subplot that is given a lot of weight in the beginning and is all but abandoned by the characters in favor of the war, with only a little tease that it’s going to be a much bigger problem in the future. It feels like a plot that could be excised from this book without changing it, but this is a larger part of a series, so I’m hoping for payoff down the road.

All in all, if you liked The Blacksmith Son, this gives even more of the characters you come to know and fleshes out a few who didn’t get much time in the last book. On another note, the epilogue and afterward were touching.

You can buy The Line of Illiniel from Amazon.

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Review: The Blacksmith’s Son (Mageborn Book One)

The Blacksmith’s Son (Mageborn Book One)

by Michael G. Manning

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Mordecai thinks he’s a simple blacksmith son, not knowing that he is the last scion of a line of wizards. Magic flows through his veins. He doesn’t know that a dark plot sought to snuff out his family line, but his mother’s dying act saved his life.

When invited by his friend James to stay at his castle and attend an upcoming ball, Mordecai is about to discover just who he is. While trying to pretend that he belongs, he inadvertently offends the dangerous Devon, the political rivals to James’s own family. Mordecai will have to develop his magic fast because his friends, including his childhood friend Penny, are in more danger than he knows!

The Blacksmith’s Son is a fast-paced fantasy novel that had some surprising twists. Manning doesn’t shy away from taking his characters into some dark situations despite the mostly light-heated tone of the novels. His characters are fun, he has some fun banter, especially between Mort and Penny, and you have lots of reason to hate his villain.

His characters are not the most complex, but they are endearing. His style was a little… unusual, mixing first person for Mordecai and third person for everyone else, often shifting between the two from paragraph to paragraph as opposed to using hard breaks. I’m not entirely certain it adds anything other than to set Mordecai as the main character.

I read through the book fast, often curious to where the story was going. He has some stakes to his writing and I find myself eager to reach the second book. This is the sort of series you could binge read, so I am glad there’s quite a number of books out.

If you’re looking for a fun, fantasy romp from an indie author, then check out this series. It’s a little rough along edges, but its polish shines through where it counts.

You can buy The Blacksmith’s Son from Amazon.

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