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Sorcerous Rivalry

The Mage-Born Chronicles
Narrated by: Scott R. Smith
Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the peace following the Great Mage Hunt, the king's long-time mistress is revealed as a sorceress. Locked away for the safety of the kingdom, bounties are placed upon the heads of the seven children she birthed. Mage hunters have scoured the kingdom for four years, searching for the seven scattered mage-born bastards. 

After growing up in an orphanage, Reshi discovers his parentage and learns to hide his magic, living peacefully in a remote village with an unusual friend. But when an alluring mage hunter comes to town, his secret is revealed, forcing Reshi to reach out to his brothers and sisters for help. A family reunion might be Reshi's only hope for survival - or it might become a spell-slinging battle royale. Who can Reshi rely on when his own family turns against him?

©2018 Kayleigh Nicol (P)2019 Kayleigh Nicol

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Fantastic Fun!

This is the story of Reshi, who is secretly a mage. Not just any mage though, the king (who hates mages) and his mistress (secretly a mage) had seven children. When the king found out that his mistress was a mage, he threw her in prison and put out bounties for the seven kids. Reshi is the youngest of these kids. They don’t know each other at all, because they didn’t grow up together, and they’re in hiding, for the most part. Mage hunters are constantly looking to kill them for the bounty.

Each of the kids have different powers, and the older ones are generally more powerful than the younger. Reshi is a shapeshifter, with a few different forms that help him sneak around. Reshi, having grown up an orphan in a town known for its seedier underside, is a pretty capable thief, and can hold his own pretty well with daggers and throwing knives. He’s been living in a small village for several years, under the protection of an exiled fairy.

One day a mage hunter named Kestral wanders into town, and shenanigans ensue that not only out the fairy, but they out Reshi too, and he runs from the village right into the arms of one of his sisters. She’s hoping that all the siblings can come together as a family and stick together. So when one of their brothers shows up, Reshi is hoping for a lovely family reunion. And… that’s when he learns that if one of his siblings dies, their power can be collected by another, making that sibling more powerful. Also it turns out that like 75% of his siblings are power hungry murderers, and so he runs again, with not only murderous siblings on his tail, but Kestral too.

It’s Kestral that catches up with him first, but instead of killing him, Kestral decides to help him get some vengeance against his murderous brother. So they make a deal to become companions until Reshi gets his vengeance, but then Kestral will probably kill him. But, he’ll give him a head start though, because he’s an honorable guy. But it turns out that vengeance takes a little longer than anticipated, and they go through a lot of adventures getting to it.

There is a romantic subplot that makes up a decent amount of this story, between the two male leads. There appears to be no stigma regarding sexuality in this world whatsoever, so that was nice. The romance between Kestral and Reshi was a fairly slow burn, and while there was obvious attraction between them from the get-go, especially from Reshi, as this is told from his POV in the first person, I didn’t feel like the romance was the only thing holding this plot aloft. I felt like the plot would have held up pretty well had there not been a romance included. So, if they had remained just companions, I don’t think the overall plot would have suffered for it, but I thought the romance was well done, and I rooted for both of them throughout. There are ups and downs, Reshi has his reasons for what he does, and Kestral his own for what he does. Sometimes they are maddening, and sometimes adorable. But, I thought that this part of the plot worked out well.

Reshi is a great character who is so easy to like, and I rooted for him from the very beginning. He’s pretty down to earth, he’s often snarky, and witty. I love a snarky rogue, you see, and Reshi is very much that. He’s rather lovable, in his way. Even when he’s being stupid, which is more than never. Kestral is more of the stoic ex-soldier type. Seeing the banter between Reshi and Kestral, and seeing Reshi be able to make Kestral truly laugh made me smile.

The magic system was really interesting, and well executed I think. Each sibling has specific powers, and as some siblings die, some of those abilities are distributed over the other siblings. So, Reshi finds himself gaining new abilities just by being on the sidelines of a bunch of his siblings’ infighting. Also, some of the ways that Reshi uses his shapeshifting abilities to get out of (or into) trouble, were well thought out. There’s also a fair bit of fighting, and I thought it was well described. It was easy for me to imagine at any rate. Kestral is a fighter of some skill, with a sword or a bow, and Reshi is, as I said, perhaps not super-skilled, but certainly not unskilled with daggers and throwing knives. I imagined him as any number of roguish characters I have played in various games over the years.

There was fake cursing, which I am known not to like. But, I will give this one half a pass, because while the fake cursing was used in place of the f-bomb, it was also used in place of most other swearing, too. The thing that gets it a partial-pass, it that the word used in lieu of swearing has other colloquialisms and expressions in the world based on it, and really, you don’t usually see authors going to such lengths to fake-swear. So, I’m conflicted. On the one hand, just use the damn f-bomb, but on the other… props for actually going the mile and doubling down on your fake-curses, I guess?

The narrator, Scott R. Smith did a great job. His Kestral voice is a-mazing, and I have to say, since this is a re-listen, so to speak, of a book I have already read, he made me love both Reshi and Kestral even more. Very well done!

This is based on a review copy of the audiobook. Thanks to the author for the review copy!

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Fantastic Book and a Great Listen

I was hooked in the beginning of the first chapter.
Great performance by the narrator.

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Enjoyable read, great potential, unique concept

I liked the plot, it was great though I found myself a little bore at the end of the book. I guess after all the characters have been through, they deserve a mind-blown ending. Not that it was bad, I just think there were some scenes that didn't sit well with me. But the ending at the end of the last chapter—like really the end of the first book—was heartbreaking. I can't get over it, I mean, how could he?


The world was interesting. This book has a great concept but Nicol didn't discover much of it in the first book. I wish I could see more of Zarapheth in the sequel. There areasome fantasy books that's hard to get into in the beginning but not this one. Sorcerous Rivalry was well-written, I could dive in easily into the story and enjoyed my time reading it.


This book has an amazing magic system. Yes, I knew there will be magic involved but it turned out better than I thought it would be. It's new and unique at the same time so I enjoyed every part where the characters were blasting their powers. Unfortunately, even though the magic sounded amazing, I couldn't say the same about the battles. I expected them to be grand but they were a little disappointing.


Now, let's talk about the characters!
Oh my, how I love Reshi! He was enchanting, funny, strong, and kind. This book was written in the third person of his POV but it doesn't decrease his characterization. Stand out and charming, I had a great time being in his head and saw the story unfold through his eyes.

Kestral; an ex-captain and now a mage hunter. He was mysterious, quiet, strong-willed. He balanced Reshi's presence perfectly. I love his sharp mind and soft heart. Yeah, he sure has the softest heart. Don't let his serious behavior fool you.

Kila; MY GIRL! Brave, strong, and honest, she stole my heart from the very first moment she appeared with her sword. She's my favorite.


Aside from the story, I also loved the romance! I smiled and giggled whenever Reshi and Kestral started their banter, or when the tension was so thick, or when they were just having a moment of loving each other. I'm expecting more awesome magic battles, a deeper look into Zarapheth, more Kila's badass moments, and especially more Restral in Mistress Mage! Please ignore my poor attempt of making a ship name of one of my favorite OTP


Overall, Sorcerous Rivalry was an enjoyable read with great potential. If you like magic, hunting, great characters, and thirsty for M/M romance, I recommend you to try this book.