Fugitive Mage

Book Two, Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - General
428 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Fugitive Mage by Kaaren Sutcliffe is a fantasy novel and the second book in the Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy preceded by book one, Undercover Mage. Malach's mother reveals his parentage and as an illegal half-mage, his father trains him secretly. Malach wishes desperately to be as powerful as his father. Everand, a spy for the Mages' Guild, has decided to stay in Riverfall to be with Lamiya, the captain of the Riverplain team, but they're kidnapped by Malach. Malach cages them and while traveling they witness Malach's eagles destroy chances for unity among others. Everand and Lamiya escape, but Everand announces an intention that blindsides Lamiya and they part ways. Lamiya's visions and Everand's vacillating between loyalty and doubt loom against the challenges ahead. Dragons, the possibility of battle, and betrayal must be overcome if the companions plan to protect Riverplain.

Fugitive Mage by Kaaren Sutcliffe accomplishes what most middle books in a trilogy cannot: the ability to fully immerse a reader with the same strength and tenacity as its first book. I like to compare trilogies to a relay race, where the baton before the final stretch is usually run by the team's weakest runner. Sutcliffe has no weak runners and her story races all of the way through. Malach, Everand, and Lamiya are all fully fleshed-out characters who I feel like I know, and while this is expected, what's most surprising is how lifelike the supporting cast, both good and morally bankrupt, is. Mage Mantiss is an overwhelming standout for two dragon-sized reasons, especially when staring face-to-face with a flickering orb. Fugitive Mage is a well-written, expertly cast, and completely immersive novel and I look forward to seeing where Sutcliffe takes us next.

Stephanie Chapman

Kaaren Sutcliffe continues the magical story of Everand in The Fugitive Mage: Book Two, Mage and the Bird Caller Trilogy. Everand is assigned to be a scribe for the trade meetings. He was worried Malach would disrupt the meeting after they permitted Riverwood to fix their boat before departure. Meanwhile, Lamiya is in the market when two Riverwood paddlers abduct her. Once Everand arrives alone to free Lamiya, Malach and Torrap place an enchanted bag over his head to prevent him from using magic. After arriving in Riverwood, the half-mage wants Everand to continue training him in magic. Two nights later, a rescue party frees Everand and Lamiya. Malach’s men catch up to the group, but Everand makes a deal with Malach to return in four days. However, the Council in Axis has a different idea.

Kaaren Sutcliffe’s ability to portray Everand’s inner turmoil enabled me to understand his actions. By nature, Everand wasn’t inclined to be violent. As the story progressed, I felt empathy for Malach. He didn’t choose the circumstances he was born into. Everand understood this, but if he was loyal to the guild laws, Malach was to be obliterated. I still feel Lamiya has a lot to learn, especially about considering other people’s feelings. The supporting characters brought in a different dynamic. I enjoyed learning more about the individual mages and what challenges they added. Malach’s character view gave me more understanding, and I felt the three provinces misunderstood him. The vivid scenery and engaging dialogue were enchanting, which kept me focused on every page. The transitions between the characters were seamless. I am eager to read the sequel, as something monumental is certain to occur. I recommend The Fugitive Mage to fantasy readers who enjoy suspense and magic.

Parul Sood

The second installment of the Mage and the Bird Caller trilogy, Fugitive Mage by Kaaren Sutcliffe takes readers on an action-packed journey filled with romance, magic, and unexpected twists in the magical realm. The story begins with Mage Everand and Lamiya, who are deeply in love but constantly separated by a series of unfortunate events, including Lamiya's kidnapping and devastation by the rogue half-mage, Malach. As Everand reluctantly continues training and faces the consequences of his actions, he is pitted against his master, Mage Mantiss, and the Guild. With tensions rising and Everand’s master turning into his adversary, he must navigate a treacherous path to protect his love and make choices that will shape his destiny and the world around him.

In Fugitive Mage, Kaaren Sutcliffe's skillful character development shines through as enemies become allies and the layers of complexities are peeled back. The immersive world of Fugitive Mage teems with magic, lore, and the majestic presence of river dragons while maintaining a grounded and relatable narrative. The author expertly creates an atmospheric setting that keeps readers engaged and eager to delve deeper into the series. The unique addition of dragon boats and their teams of loyal paddlers, inspired by the author’s passion for the famous Chinese water sport and its mythology, adds an exciting element to the story, making it a refreshing read. With its compelling storyline, well-developed characters, and enchanting world-building, this book is a must-read for fans of action-packed fantasy adventures.