Eminent Mage

Book Three, Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
440 Pages
Reviewed on 01/10/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

The Great Hall was a scene of chaos: shards from a broken cage, a hole where the emblem had been, a crumpled rug, broken doors, and bloodstains. Mages gathered, frightened, and one lay covered in a cloak, his body charred. This is not how Eminent Mage, the third book in the Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy by Kaaren Sutcliffe begins, but it is a taste of the explosive twists the finale delivers along the way. Fugitive mage Everand and his partner Lamiya test Guild rules while protecting the half-mage Malach. The arrival of dragons alters Riverplain's fate and a rush of tension rolls through the Guild. Conflict is coming, and grave sacrifices will have to be made. Ever the negotiator, Lamiya works on multiple fronts when harsh penalties are levied, and as powers are drained, another comes from an ancient source, the Staropal. With it is a mission, one which the dragons warn will have consequences if the quest fails, and that can very well change the structure of the Guild indefinitely.

Kaaren Sutcliffe's the Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy was a long time coming for me, but having finally devoured Eminent Mage I am so glad I stayed the course. There is a scene where Everand is at a crucial moment in the water, and he recalls the beginning of his mission and his initial encounter with Lamiya. As a reader, this came as a full-circle moment, and it was somewhat emotional. It became more so as the outcome of the scene came to light, but knowing the author's skill to elicit this at the drop of a death bolt, the hurt was not a surprise. The writing is excellent and the worlds built are completely immersive, from the most cramped confines of a horrific cage to the sprawling landscape. The book ends with all the loose ends and overriding questions that have dangled through the series tied up nicely, although Sutcliffe makes her characters work for it, and for us, it is all the more satisfying. I do see many different directions the world can go from here, whether Sutcliffe chooses to or not, as there are so many characters who can stand on their own with backstory, namely Akachi. An excellent end to a brilliant trilogy. Very highly recommended.

Stephanie Chapman

In Kaaren Sutcliffe’s Eminent Mage, Everand chooses to hide Malach from the Guild’s decree of obliteration. The red dragon, Akachi, tells Everand and Lamiya to return the Staropal to her. The Guild mages find Everand and Lamiya. U-Mali and U-Lumin attempt to persuade the mages to a peaceful resolution, but Pelamis kills them. Discovering Everand’s plan to hide Malach, Pelamis claims Everand must face judgment for keeping magic outside the guild. Lamiya intervenes and uses the guild’s rules against Pelamis. Everand agrees to lose his powers, so he can stay in Riverplain. Unknown to the others, he retains two drops of power. He calls upon a spell that makes him appear dead when Pelamis tries to kill Malach. Lamiya revives Everand after the mages leave with Malach. Meanwhile, Mantiss is suffering and knows he must step down as the leader of the guild. However, he has a secret that he doesn’t reveal to Pelamis’ supporters.

Kaaren Sutcliffe increases the suspense by adding the red dragon Akachi's volatile presence to the story. The red dragon’s appearance is frightening, and she wants vengeance for the death of her mate. I felt empathy for Malach. His desire for his father’s acceptance influences his choices, causing him inner turmoil. However, Everand doesn't hold his past transgressions against him. I also felt bad for Lazuli since he had to watch Lamiya’s infatuation with Everand. He also has to protect Malach since he agreed to hide the half-mage in his home. The plot is full of surprises, with supporting characters creating challenges for Everand to overcome. Vivid details of the surroundings and character personalities allowed me to envision every moment. The supporting characters even display their quirky behaviors. Redemption and change for the benefit of everyone are important factors in The Eminent Mage. Readers who enjoy fantasy romances that offer several subplots and well-developed characters will enjoy The Eminent Mage.

K.C. Finn

Eminent Mage is a work of fiction penned by author Kaaren Sutcliffe in the fantasy, romance, and interpersonal drama subgenres, and it forms the third and final novel of the Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy. It is best suited for mature reading audiences owing to the presence of sexual scenes. Everand faces the culmination of his mission, with unexpected twists and challenges that test his loyalty and love for Lamiya. The narrative is charged with fast-paced twists as Everand, driven by his desire for peace with Lamiya, confronts formidable foes, including the relentless half-mage Malach, the powerful Mages' Guild, and the ancient red dragon Akachi. This final novel resolves Everand's quest whilst introducing new complexities, such as recovering the Staropal and dealing with the consequences of betrayal.

Author Kaaren Sutcliffe uses confident narration and atmospheric descriptions to combine adventure, romance, and magical elements, creating a narrative that has readers gasping at every unexpected turn. The dynamic relationship between Everand and Lamiya evolves, with her mystical abilities becoming a force to be reckoned with and some really powerful and well-described action scenes as the magic intensifies. The characters, now familiar and beloved, embark on a final daring adventure, and Sutcliffe's storytelling remains engaging and suspenseful. The stakes are high, the challenges are formidable, and the resolution is both satisfying and emotionally resonant. It’s clear that with each book, Sutcliffe has expertly expanded the scope of the narrative while maintaining a consistent and captivating tone. I was particularly impressed with how strongly the dialogue conveys the story without a need for overdone expository prose. Overall, I would certainly recommend Eminent Mage as a delightful blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance that successfully concludes the trilogy on a high note for fantasy and romance fans alike.