45. The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker) by Karen Miller. 672 p. Published September 2007.
Asher is the youngest son in a family of Olken fishermen, and wants to make his own way. Vowing to return rich in a year’s time, Asher runs away to Dorana, the capital city of Lur. Unlike the coasts where Asher grew up, Dorana boasts a large population of Doranen – the magic-wielding race that rules Lur in exchange for protecting it. A twist of destiny puts Asher in the employ of Prince Gar, who, due to his derth of magic, is ill recieved by his people.
Asher soon comes to help Prince Gar in assuming many of the administrative duties of the King. In so doing, the two grow close and an invaluable friendship is formed. Asher comes to know the royal family and both peoples far better.
However, unbeknownst to Asher and many others, there are people of his own race secretly tracking him. Ancient prophecy has marked him The Innocent Mage, destined to bring an end to the Kingdom of Lur and save it’s people. And as the king ages and ancient foes bear their teeth, it’s looking more and more like the end of days is coming.
I found Innocent Mage to be an okay read, but nothing really stood out to me. The places and settings are well described, but not vivid. The characters are flawed (in a good way), but don’t naturally develop. It’s as if the story and all its components rely on being driven by the winds of destiny, undermining Miller’s talent for bracing action sequences and compelling plot twists. That being said, I intend to read the sequel. Perhaps with all the tedious world building out of the way, Miller’s story will finally shine through.
Rating: 2 out of 5