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Relic Hunters and a Young Mage
This book follows two separate plotlines that interact. In one, relic hunters are trying to find a dangerous relic. In the other, a young mage faces of a variety of dangers that put both his and his younger brother’s lives in danger.
The novel is written with a fair amount of humor, especially between the Knight-Questor Zoya and her cousin Yan, who is helping her find the relic. Sarn, the young mage, has a gravitas that one doesn’t expect to find in a young teenage character. He is genuinely concerned about his little brother, Miren, and his love and care for the 7-year-old come right off the page. This series is related to another of the author’s, Curse Breaker. I wasn’t aware of this when I chose the book from the book review site. At that site, the book blurb stated that this was the start of a new series. I wouldn’t call that entirely accurate; at Amazon, the subtitle says that it is book 6 of the Curse Breaker series, and the inside of the book calls it also the Divergent Heroes series (with two more books scheduled). This book is certainly part of the greater world of the Curse Breaker series. The author states in the front that this book can be read as a standalone. As someone who hasn’t read the other series, I can say that this book is a little confusing, like I was missing key information about the world of the book that would have made reading this one a little easier.
The book seemed to have more than the average number of issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. As is often typical in books, commas were problematic and not just in the usual ways. Commas weren’t correctly used on both sides of an interrupter or when needed to clarify meaning at times.
This book had one of the oddest beginnings that I have ever seen. After the standard table of contents and general information about the author’s other series (and the like), there was this strange—I’m not even sure what to call it—prologue/marketing pitch. It is supposedly written by a character from the Curse Breaker series named Ran, who is the son of Sarn, the boy mage in this particular story. In this multiple page section, Ran describes the author of the book as his father’s Scribe, enters a portal into this book’s world, and interacts briefly with some characters in it as well as a few others. If this is the setup of the book, I see one giant plot hole: How can Sarn tell the Scribe what happened in the relic hunter storyline. As to the marketing pitch, books in the Curse Breakers series are mentioned with links as is the author’s newsletter. Frankly, it was rather bizarre and off-putting. In fact, if I hadn’t given my word to review it, I might have stopped right there.
If you are familiar with the other series of in this world, you will probably find it to be an interesting one that tells you some of Sarn’s boyhood. If you aren’t familiar with this world, you might find this book confusing, but the humor and characters are fun to read about once you get past that first bizarre prologue/marketing pitch.