Angel Mage by Garth Nix
Published by: Gollancz
Released: 17th October 2019
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Gollancz for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.
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. . .
Well, this was my first experience of reading a Garth Nix novel and to say I was excited to delve into it, when I received my early copy, would be an understatement. The title alone captured my interest and as soon as I read the synopsis I knew it was going to be a book that I needed in my life…and let me tell you this, I certainly wasn’t let down by it.
I’m just gonna start off by saying that the world building in Angel Mage was truly and utterly FANTASTIC! This intriguing world that Nix has built was explained so throughly without a huge info dump. All the information you get given is all relevant to the overall story arc and you don’t feel as if some parts weren’t needed. In some fantasy novels the world building takes over from the plot, but this wasn’t the case. The plot was still in charge with the world building woven into it. I was honestly so captivated by this incredible world and at times wished I could experience it myself.
The plot, although it did take a while to get going was well detailed and kept you hooked for the most part. There were times where I had to go back a few pages to check if I’d missed anything, but it didn’t ruin the story for me. As you’d expect from a high fantasy there is so much going on but I felt like I wasn’t confused at all when reading and felt like it went at a perfect pace for the story it was trying to tell. Also the idea of Angels being summoned to help people, well that was just glorious! I had never read anything like it in any other fantasy before, and the uniqueness of it was just wonderful. Nix really does know how to create creative stories with twists and for that I applaud him.
The story is told through different points of view – mainly Liliath, Simeon, Henri, Agnez and Dorotea. I usually struggle when it comes to reading so many different POV’s, but with Angel Mage I found it to be the perfect way to tell the story. You got to know all the main characters on a personal basis and this helped me to connect with all of them. Granted I did find myself drawn to some characters more than others but on the whole I got to know all of them really well. I loved reading Liliath’s point of view as you got to discover how complicated her thoughts and actions really were, as well as her personality. I understand she was meant to be the antagonist but I really did feel sorry for her at times. Agnez was also a character that I was captivated by. I just loved her fiesty attitude and spirit and how she embraced her role as a musketeer. A true feminist icon I’d say.
For my first Garth Nix novel, Angel Mage was a fantastic read and a great introduction to the author’s work. I am really intrigued to read more and maybe one day we’ll get another book exploring more of the world featured within Angel Mage.