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A Blight of Mages (2011)

de Karen Miller

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259878,482 (3.66)13
Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe... Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts. Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl's power intrigues him-in spite of her low status. Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan's ambition and Barl's power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won't be denied. A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller's bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.… (més)
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I hated Barl. She was so incredibly arrogant. She doesn't get admitted to the "best school"; so she refuses to apply to any other. She believes she is so talented that only the best is good enough for her. Her problem keeping a job is not because she isn't from a first family; it is because she thinks she is better than anyone else. So she thinks she should get only the most important jobs and resents doing the more routine necessary jobs. When one of her co-workers tells her that they would like her to recognize that they are talented mages; Barl first thought is they are not as talented as she is.

I could almost care about Morgan, but there isn't enough about why he feels and acts the way he does. I think the author is holding back to reveal more as the series goes on, but I just don't care about these people. ( )
  nx74defiant | Feb 23, 2020 |
Dit boek heeft voor- en nadelen. Het verhaal is spannend en vreemd, maar de personages zijn soms onuitstaanbaar in hun arrogantie. Zo vind Barl zichzelf de grootste magiër ooit en dat is ze ook wel, maar ze zegt het wel erg vaak. Morgan heeft precies het zelfde probleem. En dat maakt dit boek voor mij een 7 en geen 8. ( )
  connie53 | Aug 14, 2017 |
After a slow start, I really enjoyed this book (as I have enjoyed the rest of the series). It was quite hard to get past Barl and Morgan's arrogance at first and to be honest, they never got over their arrogance even when disaster had occurred. But most of the characters in the book are arrogant in some way. If you've read the main series, then I think you'd enjoy this and it gives a different perspective on the "saintly" Barl and the "wicked" Morg. ( )
  infjsarah | Aug 11, 2014 |
I really don't know what to say about this book. I started out really liking it, got bored about a third of the way through, started liking it again, and BANG it ended so abruptly, I was left hanging. Obviously when it was written the author intended to write another book. I'm torn as to whether I want to continue on with the series or not. ( )
  Wyskers | Sep 21, 2013 |
A Blight of Mages by Karen Miller is a prequel to her Kingmaker, Kingbraker duology. I read the duology The Innocent Mage and Innocence Lost, many years ago, when they first came out (circa 2005, and golly was that cliffhanger between the two of them painful to wait through). A Blight of Mages tells the story of how the world in Kingmaker, Kingbreaker came to be how it was and why, in the future duology, the world needed saving.



I had only faint memories of Kingmaker Kingbreaker when I started reading (centring mostly on the presence of aforementioned cliffhanger) and it took me a little while to work out exactly how the characters related to the future world, but that had little effect on my enjoyment. This definitely isn't the kind of prequel that needs the original series to be enjoyed.

The story follows two powerful mages, Barl and Morgan. Barl is unranked (meaning not a member of the noble class) and as a result is not allowed to enter the illustrious College. She is frustrated working for her artisan boss who doesn't appreciate her powers and who is jealous of her better mageworking. Instead of encouraging her, he seeks to thwart her at every turn. The fact that Barl knows she's a better mage than most and isn't afraid to say so, doesn't really help her case.

Morgan is a ranked mage and the youngest to be admitted to the Council of Mages, which rules over all matters of magical law. He too finds it frustrating that other mages won't recognise his superior talents, particularly two of the other mages on the Council. Having access to more resources he strives to create better and more powerful incants in his spare time. In the course of events Morgan and Barl's paths cross and they find in each other kindred spirits.

A Blight of Mages was an enjoyable read. Barl's part of the story deals a lot with the injustice of class systems — ultimately ironic if you've read the future duology — and somewhat dramatic consequences of perpetuating the system. On the other hand, it was nice to see that there was gender equality in Miller's world, with women able to take on the same roles as men depending only on their magical abilities (I have absolutely zero recollection whether this was also true in the duology). Indeed Barl herself is one of the most powerful mages to ever come along and the fact that she is female is never an issue. Which is nice, given how many fantasy worlds are oppressive to women.

The only time I lost interest in the story was close to the end where there is a gap of several months summarised in a few pages and then the story jumps to a whole new character's point of view. It seemed to me like that time, and the new character, could have had an entire novel all of their own. On the other hand, that would have necessitated an extra storyline or two in addition to the main story already present in A Blight of Mages and I can understand the author not wanting to make the prequel into a duology of its own. And the new character was important to setting up some aspects of the duology. Happily, the story picked up back to the usual pace after that and ended with an appropriate bang.

All in all, A Blight of Mages is a solid fantasy read that stands alone well (although if read first, I can see it acting as a gateway drug to the duology). I recommend it to fantasy fans and fans of Karen Miller's other books, particularly those set in the same universe. (On the other hand, if Empress of Mijak is the only book of hers you've read/enjoyed, A Blight of Mages is entirely dissimilar.)

4 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
1 vota Tsana | Jun 18, 2013 |
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Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe... Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts. Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl's power intrigues him-in spite of her low status. Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan's ambition and Barl's power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won't be denied. A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller's bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.

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Edicions: 031602922X, 031619834X

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