Mordecai's simple life as the son of a blacksmith is transformed by the discovery of his magical birthright. As he journeys to understand the power within him he is drawn into a dangerous plot to destroy the Duke of Lancaster and undermine the Kingdom of Lothion. Love and treachery combine to embroil him in events he was never prepared to face. What he uncovers will change his understanding of the past, and alter the future of those around him.
©2011 Michael G. Manning (P)2013 Tantor
"An entertaining read." (Underground Book Reviews)
A young mage hidden at birth and raised in anonymity by a lowborn family? Check. A coming of age story with an obvious love interest? Check. An evil rival that wrongs said love interest? Check. I could keep on going but you get the point. If you have read a lot of fantasy then you have read this all before, and while there is nothing terribly wrong with The Blacksmith's Son, there is also very little to make it stand apart from the competition.
All of the wizards in this land were killed off by a group of assassins years ago, well except for Mordecai who is the son of a great wizard that was secreted off as a baby and raised by a lowly Blacksmith. When Mordecai attends an event at the local Lord's castle for the first time his social clumsiness causes him to offend a visiting noble. It turns out that this offended lordling also happens to be a wizard - what are the chances? As their rivalry grows this bodes ill for Mordecai as he is completely untrained in how to use his power.
As Mordecai rushes to learn about his power, the stakes grow from rivalry to violence and eventually toward potential war. With his true origin finally revealed Mordecai must come to terms with his new place in noble society, the subtleties of inter-kingdom politics, and of course his love for Penny, the beautiful girl he grew up with and never noticed before. All of these challenges are handled by Mordecai in a manner that lacks complexity and Penny's character really isn't any deeper. In fact, a couple of days after she is sexually assaulted by Mordecai's rival she shakes it off and takes her physical relationship with Mordecai to the next level. All of the characters just move too quickly from one event to another without allowing enough time for their personalities to change and grow. The story arc is sophisticated enough to warrant better character development but sadly you won't find it here.
To be fair, I didn't hate it, but it also never grabbed me. Todd McLaren does a good job on some of the male character voices but his 3rd person narration felt as artificial as the characters' actions. It all adds up to an uninspired package that had the potential to be a lot more than it is.
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
Excellent narration. The premise is good, and I want to go easy on a debut novel, but Gah!! The POV changes constantly from 3rd-person to 1st-person and back again, often within just a few pages. This occurred across the entire book. Disorienting.
Language felt like modern teenage punk. The modern slang broke the medieval atmosphere, drawing me out of the story. Anachronistic phrases include "getting laid, pissed off, scared the living sh-t out of me," etc.
No character development. Mort went from common blacksmith's son to Mage lord in just days, without a hitch, taking magic and money in his stride. Everything was too easy for him, including learning magic and a dead language from a book.
Mort — a green lad of 16 — took to sex easily. He repeatedly referred to teenage Penny as a woman, which annoyed me every time. Moreover, young Penny was molested, nearly raped, so she would be protective of her personal boundaries and sexual safety. She would wear clothes, at the very least! Nope. She can't even be bothered to put on a night gown or a sheet when two people enter the bedroom.
The story content is somewhat promising.
The author uses modern phrasing and language in the story and it works well for his writing style. He creates characters and is able to use them to a good potential. He has a direction and a purpose for all of his story and is able to fill in parts of the story with earlier incidental preparation.
The narrator gave energy to the story at the right moments and did an excellent job at reading. He just can't do female or children's voices, he makes them sound like old men. Other than that small complain he did an excellent job.
I write this review thinking of another author who did not prepare a story ahead of time and it felt like he just wrote it on the go. Michael Manning definitely put a lot of forethought into his writing and I will definitely be listing to or reading his next book. A good story is one built with a foundation and filled in with consistent details. I look for a good beginning, a climax, and a satisfying ending in each book, even if the story continues on in another book. This book fulfills these requirements for me.
A great series once you get through the first 1/4.of the book. The first 1/4 if juvenile and I could not tolerate the narrator and so i put the book down. Months later I picked it up again from where I left off and I adjusted to the narrator, probably because my expectations were low. By the end of the book I actually liked him. His i individual voices were good and consistent through the 4 books on Audible (there js 5th book not on Audible yet). The main theme of the books is about a mage that is self taught. The protagonist is arrogant, talks to himself constantly, and talks to the listener, and I do not like any of things. He is kind, loyal, and caresing, and yhese traits make up for that. However, the real reason I do like these books is because of the magic system grows and is explained more and more throughout each book. After my first reaction to the first quarter of the first book, I thoughy I had defiantly wasted a credit, but in the end I am glad I did spend the credit and have listened to all of the authors books on Audible.
Needs more content designed at driving the plot. There is a ton of missused space in this novel. It is one of those books were you read the whole thing and are still waiting for the book to begin. There are whole chapters that really don't add to the plot at all and the book basically goes nowhere but to build some basic characters and some plot lines.
Create more interplay between the characters.
Describe the world more. Basically you only have 2 points of interest in this book. The house where the main character grew up and the castle he gets invited to. There is not a dynamic environment in this book at all and that is a character on its own in epic fantasy.
He was clear and his voices were not bad. Good pace as well.
The book was not terrible but I think people are overrating it.
this classic mage story would have been received so much better had there not been modern english profanity and sarcasm spread throughout the entire story. it diminished the quality of the story itself which was good for an adventurer type of story.
The first series I read by Michael Manning was the Embers of Illeniel. His second series in the Illeniel world. I really enjoyed it.I am glad I did not start with this, his first book. I would not have stuck around to see if he ever learned to write like a semi-professional. Because I know he got much better somewhere between this first novel and his fourth book I'm going to take a chance on the second book in the series. It has to be better than his first attempt.
I like the voice range. The voice itself... Not the best but one of the better ones.
The battle in the Great Hall. The ending was a little too much (still fun). However the effort of everyone defending the unprotected was great..
One of my favorites. Liked him more in Altered Carbon though.
My jokes are so bad they're funny.
This is not a ripoff. There are some things that are the same but its pretty rare to find a fantasy book that has no similarities to any other fantasy book.. People will always claim that issue. The only thing I really thing might be taken from another book is Dorian. That guy has to be Perrin from WoT.
I loved this series.
Young man awakening to his powers without a teacher. Finds various learning opportunities along the way, coming to discover he is probably the most powerful person of his kind ever born (although not put in those words, that's what's implied). Then tragedy strikes at the very end of the series - or so it seems; I wonder what the next installment will reveal?
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