Review Written by: Jessica Curtis
Every twelve years a war occurs due to the moon tide drawing back enough that a bridge, the Leviathan bridge, which separates two continents is easy to be crossed. David Hair takes no caution when it comes to his comparisons to the countries portrayed in Mage’s Blood, as it is easy to see that the countries could be the ancient portrayal of the Middle East. Mage’s Blood focuses on the countries settled upon the continents of Yuros and Antiopia/Ahmedhassa, both of which are separated by the mage constructed Leviathan Bridge. Each chapter of Mage’s Blood is dedicated to focusing on the point of view of the main characters mainly: Antonin Meiros, Ramita Ankesharan, Elena Anborn, and Alaron Mercer all of which have key roles and parts in the novel. Starting out Mage’s Blood is a novel that requires dedication and patience. A good majority of the book is inundated with historical facts, politics, and background story to help the reader understand the reason and purpose of each characters actions. Thankfully if the reader stays with Mage’s Blood it does pick up the pace and leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the next chapter when the last page of is finished.
David Hair’s world is easily as dark and treacherous as any that can be found in the pages of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. There is no shortage of deceit, betrayal, violence, and magic within the pages of Mage’s Blood. It is easily a vast epic that promises only more of such within the next chapter of the Moon Tide Quartet, Scarlet Tides. The book is a balanced epic fantasy of the thin lines that can be crossed when it comes to the definition of good versus evil, dark versus light. Those that seem to be on the side of good act in such a ways that make one question if they are truly good. For the sake of love and knowledge, and of course revenge, the actions of the characters that they believe is either for a personal gain or greater good is what starts to blur those lines and definitions of light and dark, good and evil.
Each character possesses memorable characteristics and personalities. Elena while a strong mage both in physical strength and power also has a subtle femininity that makes her admirable and intriguing. She also is in my opinion one of the preferred characters in the epic given she seems the most human and best portrayed by the author. The reader can easily see how her choices in life have left a mark upon her body as much as her soul, and yet she still remains determined to survive and rise above it all. Her story is one of the most fascinating of all the characters, only to be seconded by Ramita’s own story as Ramita becomes the wife of Antonin Meiros.
Alaron on the other side of the spectrum is a young mage determined to make his mark upon the world. His final thesis in the Mage school is one that leads to his near ruin as a mage, for he starts to question the history and political choices of the mage class. His story is one that leads in the discovery of how to survive when a mage fails to complete the school and earn their honor of possessing gnosis (in other words magic). If anything what makes Alaron’s story the most fascinating is watching how Hair reveals the change of a young mage becoming man. There is of course also the character, Kazim, the once intended of Ramita but really to go into background and the story of each and every character of Mage’s Blood would in truth give far too much away.
I can say that while it is a bit tedious to plow through the first 200 pages or so of Mage’s Blood with the background story, it is appreciated when the reader realizes that there are three more books to complete the quartet. It’s rather refreshing in some ways to get it all out-of-the-way in one setting so that Hair can focus on the story itself and building up the suspense and the anticipation of what is to happen when time for the Moon Tide and the Leviathan Bridge is now that which can be crossed. The one questions that Hair leaves hanging is if the rise of the Leviathan Bridge will promise a time of peace and trade or if another crusade will be upon the people of the divided continent.
As the reader continues past those first 200 pages into the middle of the book this is where the character development and story truly takes place. With the travel, betrayal, and mysteries those pages are what help to keep the reader dedicated to find out what happens next. Hair doesn’t disappoint in the least and graciously rewards those devoted to keeping on with Mage’s Blood with the final 100 or so pages. The finality of Mage’s Blood is a gut punch of shock and such unexpected twists that the reader is left with a mouth wide open in shock. It is that frenzy of suspense and cliff hanger anticipation that leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the second chapter in the Moon Tide Quartet. With a title like Scarlet Tides, it is easy to see that Hair has no intention of disappointing the reader. There will be blood, there will be revenge, there will be war.
David Hair makes it easy for the reader to become attached to the characters he has developed. Like any epic fantasy when you dedicate that much time to a book, you easily become a bit… attached to the characters. David Hair has no shyness when it comes to throwing his characters in difficult and challenging, and often times deadly situations and that is what leaves the reader rooting for their favorite. The characters manage to leave you attached to them and rooting for their survival and success. Even the villains can be found in some ways as lovable. I am eager to see what the Moon Tide Quartet has in store next.
While a grueling and slow-paced start filled with facts and history and background politics, a middle that starts the story rolling, and a knife gutting twist of an ending, if the reader can remain steadfast and keep on with the story it would not disappoint. Mage’s Blood can be grouped in a class with a Song of Ice and Fire and the Wheel of Time series, but it still remains in a class of its own. Well done, David Hair. Stay tuned readers… I can promise that a review of Scarlet Tides will be here too. Till next time!