Title: Angel Mage
Author: Garth Nix
Published: 1st October 2019
Edition: UK Hardback
More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.
A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.
Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.
But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.
The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . .
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy from the publisher, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you Gollancz for sending me a copy of this book to review and for letting me be part of the blog tour!
Until I received this copy I did not know what a beast this book was, totalling at 534 pages, I made the mistake of leaving it till last moment to read it, and as I write this I finished the book around 20 minutes ago (7:30pm 1st Oct) and why do I do this to myself? Procrastinating and causing myself stress because I felt so behind😂
Angel Mage is my first Garth Nix book, I’ve been interesting in picking up his The Old Kingdom series for a while but never gotten around to getting a copy so when I got an email asking if I’d like to review a copy and be on the tour I jumped at the chance as it was pitched as the ‘Master of Fantasy is back.’ Angel Mage is Garth Nix’s first adult fantasy book.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this, it was a bit of a slow burner for me, the characters were thrown in so fast so it did take me a little while to get used to whose who! Our first main character is Lilaith, she’s been asleep for over a century after fleeing the Fall of Ystara. She’s determined to find her lost lover, the archangel Pelleniel. Lilaith is one of the greatest practitioner of angelic magic, she’s able to summon angels and then make them do as she bids. Most of the inhabitants of Ystara died during the Ash Blood plague and those who didn’t turned into beastlings. However some made it out but now they’re descendants are Refusers, they’ve been shunned by angels ever since and if they’re touched by said angelic magic they will either die of the Ash Blood plague… Or turn into beastlings.
Lilaith promises things that the Refusers have waited years to receive, a way for things to be before, but she’s just using them for her own gain but they don’t realise it. Lilaith has four people who are in her line of interest to help her find her lover.
The four, the other main characters, first up is Simeon, a doctor-in-training. Henri, a fortune hunter. Agnez, a musketeer cadet and Dortea, an icon maker and scholar of angelic magic. When they all end up meeting, they’re drawn to each other with the feeling of siblingship between them but they don’t know why. The four end up being pawns for Lilaith and end up finding icons that were thought missing as part of Lilaith’s intricate plan for them and leading them to Ystara.
The book is split into five parts, and my thoughts for the entire book is kind of all over the place with this one, I REALLY enjoyed part five the most as it was the part that had the most action in but it does end up leaving you wanting even more, however Garth Nix himself has said it is a standalone… for now so it is open ended for it to have more books released in the future which I do hope that there is as I would love to find out more about the main four characters as I felt it wasn’t enough for me, Lilaith, all of the other side characters and this book did have such incredible world building. I enjoyed reading about the angels and about angelic magic and the icons, the magic system of the world was something different to read. Lilith for me, was an amazingly well written villain, I really liked her character and I know some people liked her more than the four but for me I definitely love The Four more just because their interactions with each other and they seem like people I’d also want to be friends with.
It’s taken me nearly two hours just to attempt my thoughts for this, I couldn’t even decide on a final rating until finishing this, I was so torn between 3 because it was a slow burner for me and took me so long to get it read and 4 because the story was really good and THAT ENDING. I am still left with questions but I decided to go with four stars in the end as just thinking about Garth Nix’s writing with it being a slow read does seem to let you take in information a bit more and enjoy the writing style that is done, it makes you appreciate the story that is being told a little more. I would definitely recommend it, but if you’re not a massive adult reader like I am, stick with it if you find it slow, it’ll be worth it! I’ve now got a copy of the first book in the Old Kingdom series to give it a try and see how different they will be!
Don’t forget to check out my fellow bloggers posts throughout the rest of October month to see their thoughts on this book!