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Book Review: Soul Mage, by Lisa Blackwood

I picked up a freebie copy of Lisa Blackwood‘s Soul Mage from Amazon.

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A stoic warrior-maiden and a villainous priest-king make the most unlikely alliance in the history of the five kingdoms.

When a rescue attempt to save a clutch of dragon eggs from the soul mages goes terribly wrong, Warrior-Priestess Verdria of High Rock finds herself on the wrong side of a portal, deep in enemy territory.

She soon learns she’s in the heart of the soul mage’s empire and when Honryn, the future priest-king of the mages, takes a liking to Verdria and saves her life, she’s pretty sure she’s facing down a ‘fate worse than death’ scenario.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Priest-King Honryn introduces her to the Royal Court of the Soul Mages, the most morally corrupt and bloodthirsty court in existence.

Life is cheap.

Souls are currency.

And Verdria has caught the fancy of the young priest-king, and while he doesn’t want to steal her soul, he’s set on winning her heart.

And she’s equally set on having his heart, after she’s carved it out of his chest.

But when she discovers Honryn’s most monstrous secret, a secret he’s even hiding from his fellow soul mages, she’s moved to pity and offers to aid him.

my review

Meh, this was a fine, if shallow, read. As is so often the case with books that are both part of one series and the start of a spin-off (this is book 4 of the Huntress vs. Huntsman and book 1 of the Soul Mage Saga), the book stands alone plot-wise but is largely without any world-building or description. A person really isn’t meant to read it as a book 1, apparently. Those who have read the previous series are meant to understand that the established world is shifting to focus on side characters, but all else is the same.

Add to this lack of robustness in the world a plot that barely progresses (the whole book is about three days), a narrative that dedicates significantly more time to what characters are wearing than…well, just about anything else, and ends on a cliffhanger at precisely the moment anything big finally actually happens, and what you have is a fairly flat read. It’s not that it’s bad. I think I’d continue the series if I found it free. But it’s also not particularly engaging. I wouldn’t, for example, pay for more.

But the mechanical writing is fine. The whole thing reads easily enough. I liked the characters and that the heroine is sort of a muscly butch, but the hero is still hella attracted to her. The book is also very sweet, which I know some like. (The snippets I saw on TikTok made me think it would be dark. So, I was a bit let down by the cotton candy, personally.) But still…it was just kinda meh.

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Book Review: Soul Mage by Lisa Blackwood

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