Review Blog

Dec 06 2019

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760630904.
(Age: secondary) Fantasy. Themes: The three musketeers, Magic, Angels. Garth Nix has created a world where magic is the domain of angels and those who are able to summon them. He begins by describing the destruction of Ystara, brought about by the summoning of powers too great for Liliath who thought she could control the Archangel Pallenial. The surrounding kingdoms closed the borders of Ystara and the beastlings that were created, but its people the Refusers became slaves. Liliath survives and after 137 years wakes to begin her devotion and worship of Pallenial once more. She needs the special qualities of four special candidates all of whom have come together in the Kingdom of Sarance. Agnes a newly fledged musketeer, Simeon a young doctor, Dorotea a young icon painter and Henri a clerk in the cardinals office are thrown together on a dangerous path seemingly not of their making.
The tale reaches its climax with the return of Liliath, a large group of Refusers, the four 'heroes', and troops from the Queen's musketeers, the cardinals Pursuivants, the city watch to Ystara and the Temple of Pallenial.
Those followers of Nix who are expecting another Sabriel or Abhorsen I fear will be disappointed. I found it difficult to engage with the narrative and the main characters, which somehow failed to gel into an involving story line. For me it wasn't a page turner.
The prologue is very important to understand where Liliath is coming from and the attitudes of the Sarance population to the Refusers. Be sure to read it carefully as it is an important key to unlock the narrative.
Mark Knight

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