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Book Review: Mageling

Table of Contents

“The Wilds relentlessly reclaim all things. Humanity shelters within their ever-dying cities. Mages create the only path forward.

Tala had to fight tooth and nail in the Magic Academy to forge a path to power that was her own. She knows it’s her duty to use that power to serve humanity, defending them against the creatures of the untamable wilds. However, she skipped a few steps in her education, like apprenticing to someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Now, Tala has to balance learning as fast as she can with paying off the veritable mountain of debt the Magic Academy dropped on her shoulders for the opportunity; not to mention staying alive.

Even though she should only be a Mageling, the world considers her a Mage. Bless the stars she directed most of her magic toward survival.”

Title: Magling

Series: Millennial Mage #1

Author: J.L. Mullins

Page Count: 551

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: June 19th, 2023

The Mageling was my 11th SPFBO-9 read. This was my first exposure to author J.L. Mullins. As I was sifting through the hundreds of entries to the competition the cover for this one stood out to me. The story sounded interesting as well so I added it to my list.
This was a refreshing read after a very recent emotionally draining book. The Mageling was certainly more light hearted in comparison which was something I think I needed at that moment. All in all this was an entertaining read. I found Tala easy to connect to, mostly due to her drive and her overly abundant curiosity! She certainly stumbled into powers she didn’t understand many times and then afterward other more seasoned mages often informed her of what she was doing. At the same time those seasoned mages often didn’t quite understand how Tala was learning these things without an actual instructor. I loved that relationship between Tala and the others.
As the majority of this was an audio listen the pacing was smooth. I didn’t have many issues keeping track of things or have any issues with the narration by Tess Irondale. In fact I had strong vibes of Suzy Jackson and the Skyward series. I found myself numerous times feeling this store was similar but on a more fantasy level versus that being science fiction.
The world building was good as well. We had a good mix of learning about different regions and cultures. Another favorite part of Mageling was the interesting magic and creatures we learn about along the way. One pleasant surprise was I had fearing this may spend too much time at a mage school feeling like some other very popular books. But Tala embarks on a journey of exploration and adventure fairly quickly which was nice to see.
The character development was another strong aspect. I’ve already mentioned how much I enjoyed Tala but we meet some rather interesting characters along the way as well. I liked some of the subtle reveals with some character as well. Love books with characters and other things that aren’t always as they first appear.
Mageling did have a bit of a young adult feel from time to time. However, I’m not sure I would put it into that category where an older reader may not enjoy it. All in all I did enjoy this one and plan to continue the series in time.
As for my recommendation, I’d go with readers who enjoy a good light hearted fantasy with some interesting creatures and magic.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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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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