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Book Review: The Serpent Mage

Table of Contents

“After five years trapped in the Realm of the Sidhedark, Michael Perrin has returned home. He wants nothing more than to live a normal life—but the unearthly music of Arno Waltiri continues to play on.

The song of power has weakened the veil between the human and faerie worlds. The streets of Los Angeles are haunted by uncanny beings; strange bodies have been discovered in a dilapidated hotel; and an ancient creature calls to Michael from the waters of a loch in Scotland.

The Sidhe have followed Michael home. To repair the rift between Earth and Realm, man and fae, he will have to wield the magic he wished he never learned—and complete an unfinished symphony linked to the ethereal melody of Waltiri’s Opus 45, the Infinity Concerto.”

Title: The Serpent Mage

Series: Songs of Earth and Power #2

Author: Greg Bear

Page Count: 343

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.75/5.0

Date Read: February 28th, 2024

At this point I’m finally starting to run short on available Rob J. Hayes books to read. I had a chance to continue The Ties That Bind series with book two The Colour of Vengeance recently. I opted for the audiobook narrated by Jaret Ross. I mentioned in my review of book one that the first one which I didn’t realize was Hayes’s debut didn’t initially feel like his usual works I enjoy. This one gave the RJH vibes right from the beginning.
Even though we may have a considerably new cast of characters in book two, this was an exciting story to watch unfold.
The pacing of the Colour of Vengeance was on the faster side of things. As already mentioned, I felt right at home with this story as it felt very much like what I’ve come to expect from Hayes at this point. There are a lot of characters and events taking place with this one so, buckle up and hold tight! This isn’t non-stop action if that is what you’re looking for. But I never felt like the ebb and flow of things ever really turned into a slog. It was simply details that seemed to matter. There isn’t much worse in reads for me than unnecessary amounts of detail that don’t seem to add much to the story or characters.
The world building is solid once again. Hayes certainly paints us a grim world where these characters and the story reside. If you’re looking for a read that is going to provide you with good vibes, hope and some beautifully describes fields of flowers, this isn’t the place to be. If you want that gritty world where characters are simply doing their best just to survive, this is the picture the author is painting here. We still have a solid mix of regional locations, cultures and some magic provided for us to enjoy with this read, and I’m here for it!
The character development is probably the strongest part of this read. As mentioned we have a lot of characters both on the protagonist and antagonist side. A couple of my favorite parts of this book and the fine line between these two perspectives. The Black Thorn himself is ever the reluctant hero and he is constantly reminding everyone he isn’t putting together a new crew. Even assumed antagonists aren’t always what they appear in book two. There are several solid arcs to enjoy seeing unfold for character growth. All I can say is pay attention and keep an open mind to fully enjoy this read.
I continue to find my reading of Rob J. Hayes very enjoyable at this point. He’s become an author that I will watch for releases regardless of genre he is writing. I still have a few more published books to chip away at but I am starting to run low. The good news is, I did back his Kickstarter for The God Eater Saga which will kick off 3 additional fantasy trilogies which is very exciting!

World Building 4/5
Pacing 3.5/5
Character Development 4/5

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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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