The Mage-Born Anthology: Short Stories of the Sorcerous Siblings by Kayleigh Nicol [REVIEW]
Publisher: Blue Feather Publishing
Publication Date: March 7th 2019
Before the Mage-Born Bounties. . .
Before they became known as the dangerous mage-born bastards, Reshi’s brothers and sisters were young mages growing into their powers in a kingdom that forbade the use of magic. This collection of short stories follows Eagan, Kila, Velyn and the rest of Reshi’s magical siblings as they develop their magic and learn to survive during the period known as the Great Mage Hunt. From the political intrigue of noble houses, to the secrets of the Order of the Great Canvas, from the great seaside ports to the mystical lands of the fae, each of the mage-born come up with their own unique solutions to living in a world that will kill them if their secret is discovered.
This collection holds six thrilling stories of magic and adventure featuring Reshi’s siblings, plus two more stories set within the vast kingdom of Zarapheth!
ARC provided by Author in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review
Representation: LGBTQIA+, non-traditional family, adoption
“A Bargain made.”
“The terms upheld.”
“The price agreed.”
“The debt repaid.”
I really enjoyed myself with this one! The Mage-Born Anthology is a collection of short stories that follows the six bastard children of the King of Zarapheth as they come to learn the knowledge of who they truly are and learning to master their new found abilities.
Each story told in a different perspective from each of the seven children, we are introduced to a world where magic has been stifled and those who are born with the power to wield it are killed during the Great Mage Hunt. Which is a solid yikes period for our main characters as they have to learn quickly and quietly on how to control their new abilities, and as children of the King this challenge proves exceedingly difficult.
From the beginning we are shown a complex world where each story delves a little bit farther into it, weaving our imagination into the magic and struggle of these lands and its people that range from human to fae. I was absolutely smitten with most, if not all, of this collection, with some stories stealing my heart more than others and making me a fan of this world in a matter of hours.
“…nature’s magic is a force greater than that of any one mage. Our magic is just an imitation of real power.”
At the start of the collection we meet the eldest of the kids, Reina, who by far speaks to the Ravenclaw and Vulcan lover in me on the deepest of levels. A scholar at heart, Reina does everything from a logical perspective, almost to the point where I believe if things cannot be quantified through scholarly articles or science, then it truly cannot exist. However, Eagan is almost the exact opposite of his older sister. Wild, mischevious, and playful; He is the bad boy you can’t help but love. The banter he has with everyone he cross paths with–especially his manservant, Tresance–was one that always put a smile on my face and made me love him that much more.
We then are given the chance to meet Kila, a lover of battle and a soldier at heart that to every other person would appear to be the first person on the battlefield the moment it was to begin. However, we get to take a look within her story at the inner conflict she goes through that I really enjoyed as she worked through and struggled with having to kill those who were just like her–a mage. We also get to meet Velyn, and Cera both of whom lead a closer to normal life than the other siblings, Velyn who is the first of his siblings to grow up in an orphanage rather than in a place of nobility, and Cera, a traveling performer. However, unlike the first three siblings, I didn’t care much for Laki’s story as I felt like he didn’t have as much depth or story arc like his twin sister, Kila, did or even the other siblings.
“That had been her hardest lesson to learn at finishing school—a male might throw a punch when offended, but a lady must always smile and speak kindly”
I think one of the things that made me fall in love with this world and these characters even more so was that the author wasn’t afraid to have them question and tackle societal issues that we in modern society have to tackle ourselves on a daily basis. From sexism, women’s rights, and gender dysphoria, all the way to the debate of gender pronouns; these characters face these issues head on and I found myself letting out many “YAS QUEENS” during my lunch breaks at work because of them.
Kayleigh Nicol does a fabulous job of world and character building. Each new place and each new character brought out a complete different voice that was raw as it was real, and made the connection I had with them, as well as my investment into the story that much more intense and deeper. With that said, I do have to mention that this book did take me a while to get into solely because the dialogue and inner dialogue at the beginning is so very formal (which after reading it makes sense to the character), and because of the formal verbiage and large vocabulary of Reina, who kicks of this collection, it was hard to get into the world and the story at hand.
Overall though, I highly enjoyed my time reading this anthology, as it gripped me in ways I didn’t think it would. I think it is safe to say that I am now so invested in these characters and their lives; and I honestly cannot wait to pick up the rest of this series and see what happens next.
If you are a lover of fantasy, I highly recommend picking this up and giving it a go. The Mage-Born Anthology is an action packed fantasy that is as gripping as it is mystical–this is a book you don’t want to miss.
Huge thank you again to Kayleigh Nicol for sending me an ARC for my honest review!