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Book Review: Dragon Mage

Table of Contents

“Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known.

But Aram is more. Much, much more.”

Title: Dragon Mage

Series: Rivenworld #1

Author: M.L. Spencer

Page Count: 986

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Date Read: September 4th, 2022

I had first heard about Dragon Mage in 2021 when someone in the BookTube community or in Discord had shared it’s gorgeous cover both on the dust jacket and the hardcover below it. The story of course sounded interesting to me as well. I mean magic and dragons, what’s not to like there!? I ended up putting it off for awhile because it’s on the beefier side of page count. But I finally got my hands on it this year. We also have a small unofficial buddy read put together for it in Dom’s Book Club (Dominish Books’ Discord server) for the month of September. I did get an early start on this one and also opted for listening to the audiobook version with some immersion reading off and on as well.

As usual this is a coming of age story of a young man (as well as other young supporting characters) that find themselves ending up in a world of adventure compared to the mundane existence they may have seen themselves living. When beginning this book I was feeling a bit burned with the coming of age trope. I’ve expressed several times over the last two years that I do get tired of reading about so many young characters so when I find books that go against that grain it’s always a nice change. But as the story progressed I got more entrenched and found myself loving it more and more.

Before I get into my big three as usual I will preface by saying the first half of the book did not click with me as much as the second half of the book. I’ll get more into that in a moment.

The pacing was decent in the first half of the book. Not that there wasn’t plenty of action and storytelling in the first half, it just didn’t seem as gripping to me as the second half of the book ended up being.

The character development was definitely a shining point for me in Dragon Mage. We definitely get to know many of our characters and the internal and external struggles they face throughout the story. Sometimes this may be good or bad. I definitely found myself frustrated with characters at times but I had to remind myself these were young characters still learning who they are and what they could do. Not to mention how to survive the world around them.

The world building was right up there on the same level as the character development. We learn about one overall world with different regions and cultures but we find out there are different levels of this world and how they are connected. We definitely have lots of possibilities as to many more things to explore with this series going forward.

Circling back around to my statement earlier, I was enjoying the first half of this book and it was probably hovering around the 4-star mark but by the mid point and the way it finished so strong (clearly a 5-star) my overall rating on this one was brought up to a 4.5/5.0-star rating.

I’d recommend this book to someone who doesn’t mind a longer read. If you’re used to 300-400 pages this might feel a bit much for you. But if you like your fantasy more on the epic side both in length and depth, this is worth the time put in. This would definitely be more for a reader that is looking for that high fantasy or fantastical story as magic and divinity are huge parts of this story!

World Building 5/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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