The Hunted Mage

The Adventures of Jack Wartnose

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
406 Pages
Reviewed on 12/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Hunted Mage is a work of fiction penned by author A. S. Norris in the fantasy, adventure, and Christian fiction subgenres, and it forms the third novel in The Adventures of Jack Wartnose book series. The work is suitable for the general adult reading audience. Following his escape from the Mage Inquisition and undead threats, Jack and his troupe face a new menace, the Murder of Crows, a group of mage assassins sent to eliminate them. The plot thickens as old faces resurface, family secrets unravel, and his estranged daughter continues to plot her revenge.

Author A. S. Norris has crafted a superbly engaging tale of suspense, family dynamics, and vengeance, all with the classic witty touches and vibrant characters that I have come to expect from this excellent series. Jack Wartnose is a compelling character, flawed yet resilient, and his interactions with his family and fellow adventurers are always true to form and well-characterized by his speech and thought presentation. The author's world-building and character development are impressive, and in this novel in particular, I was gripped by how the town of Downriver Ferry becomes a character in itself, with its secrets and simmering tensions closing in on Jack. Overall, The Hunted Mage is a thrilling addition to the series, and I look forward to the next installment to see how Jack continues to confront the challenges that accost him. I would not hesitate to recommend this gripping fantasy series to fans of the genre who want plenty of humor and hijinks along the way.

Stephanie Chapman

The Hunted Mage is the third book in A.S. Norris' The Adventures of Jack Wartnose series. Wartnose’s troupe is traveling to Downriver Ferry. However, they encounter a merchant who claims the ferry is not open because of the excessive flooding. They decide to travel into town to see if waiting for the ferry would be faster than a detour that would add a month to their trek. While Wartnose is at a tavern with Muriel, Skully, Brien, Gunther, and Skully, Eustace appears and introduces them to Phocas’ troupe of adventurers. Meanwhile, Pollyxena receives a summons from the Crows, who execute anyone who seeks the Aeternus tome. However, Pollyxena’s twin sons follow her. Their discovery could result in the family’s execution. The Revenants have been recalled by Selenus. He wants Wartnose to find the tome, so he can take it from him.

A.S. Norris increases the intensity of suspense by introducing another of Wartnoses’s illegitimate children. Chiyu, who is blind and protected by a Warden, is the third child. I thought it was funny that the other members of the troupe had a bet on how many children Wartnose had fathered. The multiple subplots involving the Crows, Selenus, and the council add unpredictable twists to the plot. The transitions between each character were easy to follow and gave multiple views of each event as they occurred. The action and magic spells are vivid and the dialogue is relatable. There is an intriguing sibling rivalry with Jack and Chiyu admonishing Margaret’s disrespect of their father. The ending left me eager to read the sequel. The Adventures of Jack Wartnose series is best read in order as The Hunted Mage builds on the troupe’s experiences from prior events.

Romuald Dzemo

In The Hunted Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose by A.S. Norris, Jack Wartnose finds himself embroiled in yet another life-threatening situation. Getting free from the Mage Inquisition has just given him a little respite. Now, the emergence of the Murder of Crows presents a new danger. This group of mage assassins, including a vengeful beauty from his past, is determined to put an end to Wartnose and his companions. Stranded in the seemingly innocuous town of Downriver Ferry, Wartnose's problems intensify with family secrets coming to light and the Murder of Crows getting closer. Even his estranged daughter has a powerful grudge against him and is determined to eliminate him. Can he survive the multiple threats to his life or will he be able to outwit his enemies once again?

A.S. Norris has crafted a tale that will appeal to fans of fantasy and stories that feature magic. The narrative stands out in its originality and Wartnose is a character with a sack of troubles. It seems like everywhere he turns, there are enemies waiting to do him harm. The setting is written with intriguing details and while Downriver Ferry looks like the perfect place to lay low, it turns out to be a den of secrets. As the tension builds, it eventually becomes the epicenter of an explosive clash that will test Wartnose and his allies in a manner never before experienced. The Hunted Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose features characters that are unforgettable, fully drawn, and deeply flawed. The conflict is strong and I loved the way it moves the plot forward. The entertainment is augmented by the lively dialogues and the focused scenes. This is an exciting ride filled with action and unpredictable moments.

Essien Asian

A member of the Magedom has broken from their strict ways in search of a tome containing knowledge they feel should be kept private. This has left the rest of them on edge. While not exactly popular right now, Jack Wartnose does have the tacit support of some of his fellow mages. When the Murder of Crows, a group of assassins sworn to protect the secrets of Aeternus from the prying eyes of men, get wind of Jack’s intentions, they put together a team and assign them the task of hunting Jack down and disposing of him and his family. Only time will tell if Jack will survive this ordeal in A.S. Norris's The Hunted Mage.

A magical manhunt ensues in A.S. Norris's novel. The author crafts the ideal opening to a story that has a lot to offer with clear and uncomplicated origin stories. The character creation is near perfect as the principal character's conversations with his siblings show realistic family dynamics. Norris balances the plot evenly as it drifts from Jack's adventures as he journeys through Downriver Ferry to the progress Sloth Bear and his cohorts are making in their bid to enact justice on him. The best part of this novel is the way Norris creates personal relationships between the characters with the potential for unimaginable drama further down the line. Nothing personifies this more than the difficult choice Polyxena is faced with to avoid certain death. With its impressive spells and weaponry that teases the imagination, you will enjoy The Hunted Mage just as much as I did.

Parul Sood

The Hunted Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose by A.S. Norris is a sequel to Wartnose’s journey where he faces a noxious group of assassins called the Murder of Crows. These stealthy pursuers strike at Downriver Ferry where Jack’s family lives. The return of Jack's ex-girlfriend adds another layer to the narrative, creating suspense and anticipation. The plotline takes on an additional emotional dimension as Jack’s daughter, estranged from him some time back, returns to his life. This creates a genuine level of suspense and anticipation. With his family and crew at stake, Wartnose’s unwavering determination to track down the elusive Aeternus tome becomes even more crucial. Adventures, mishaps, and layered family portrayals come together to make this a wholesome read.

In The Hunted Mage, A.S. Norris demonstrates skill in a deep portrayal of Jack, offering an insight into his past and the web of secrets that surrounds it. The complex multi-dimensional plot is filled with twists and turns and grips the reader's attention to the end. There are clashing motives from different factions such as hateful undeads or mages with different intentions that make the story more complex. The varied cast of characters, equipped with distinct eccentricities, greatly contributes to the overall reading experience. A.S. Norris combines action, adventure, as well as comprehensive characters, which makes reading this book an intriguing journey. It is a great experience to either follow Jack from the beginning or embark on a new adventure with him as The Hunted Mage.