Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet.
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.
Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.
Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.
Well, we have only just started this year and it seems the brilliant books are getting thrown at me left, right and centre.
M.L.Spencer’s Dragon Mage is a classic fantasy of the most epic kind!
This is the first book that I have read of M.L. Spencer’s, although I have had a number of her books on my TBR for ages.
Now when I originally heard of this book, it was billed as a standalone book. However, it has proven to be so popular that fans have demanded a sequel. It’s not hard to see why in all honesty as it is a fantastic book.
This book is definitely a chonker, and I think that is why I ended up inhaling this novel by audio and Ben Farrow does a brilliant job of bringing this book to life.
The story revolves around Aram Raythe. All Aram wants to do is make friends. However, he is seen as a pathetic figure and the local town bullies think that he is fair game to kick about like the town football. When we meet Aram, he is summoning the courage to give a present to the object of his affection. However, he is soon set upon and suffers a brutal assault at the hands of the local bullies. He is saved, quite unexpectedly by Markus. This leads to them forming a relationship that goes far beyond friendship, and evolves into a familial relationship.
I think it needs to be mentioned that M.L.Spencer writes some of the most wonderful characters I have read in modern fantasy. Aram is obviously autistic. There is no hiding this fact, he is almost DSM 5 classic in his difficulties. However, M.L. Spencer captures Autism in its purest form and captures the nuances of the condition and shows all the varied qualities of a person on the spectrum, and that they are far more than a diagnosis. She shows Aram to be bright, funny, incredibly strong and yearning for friendship.
However, not only is Aram a brilliantly realised character, there is also Markus. Markus is such an amazing character in his own right, and the friendship that develops between the two boys is such an endearing story line it nearly had me in tears in its beauty.
I have to say this book is amazing in the fact that nearly all the characters just walk off the page, even the most inconsequential of characters is brilliantly written.
The story itself is a familiar story, and has all the classic tropes that drew me into this genre, it has the chosen one, the found family etc etc and this is one of the books strengths. If you want a book that is going to reinvent the wheel, then Dragon Mage isn’t it, because M.L. Spencer draws you into the comfy familiarity of all those tropes you love, and does it bloody well. In fact, it is a refreshing change to read a book that celebrates these facets of fantasy and builds so well on them. That’s not to say that Dragon Mage is all nicey nicey, coz it most certainly well isn’t. At times it is damned well gory as anything and you can see M.L. Spencer’s Grimdark chops making an appearance at several points throughout the book, it’s just that she evens them out with a good dose of lightness that it counterbalances the darkness.
There were loads of reasons why I fell in love with this book.There were the characters, the world building, the dragons, the relationship between Markus and Aram. However, the prose is just absolutely beautiful and drew me in.
"There were many reasons why the people of Anai were anxious for the bard’s arrival. As always, the old women would be ready to swoop in first, pecking like seabirds at the bard, eager for crumbs of information about eligible young men and women to add to their matchmaking lists."
Extract taken from Spencer, ML. Dragon Mage: An Epic Fantasy Adventure (Rivenworld Book 1) (p. 5). Stoneguard Publications. Kindle Edition.
Honestly, as soon as I read passages like this, I was hooked. The writing throughout the book is just totally amazing, every page just imprints itself into your brain.
Now, I haven’t mentioned the world building aspect. It is so gloriously doen and revolves around two worlds, The World Above and the World Below, which was sundered aeons ago and is linked to the magic system of the book (I told you didn’t I? This book has the whole kit and kaboodle). The two worlds are split by the void which is home to void creatures. Creatures that cannot exist in either world and will feed off magic. This can include anything, people, beasts, monsters or dragons to name a few.
To say Dragon Mage is 900 pages long (which equates to over 27 and a quarter hours on audio) I did not notice the time passing by, or the world for that matter, I was happy to be engaged with either medium to be honest, and when I wasn’t listening, I was reading because I simply had to know what happened next.
Now to wrap this up, don’t be afraid of it being a chonker and give this book a try, I am sure you will love it. The book is an incredible journey of friendship against adversity.