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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The Quarter Mage by Angelina J. Steffort is a fantasy novel and the first book in a new series by the same name. Sanja, a human princess and runaway bride, flees a cruel court and a grotesque bloodbath to save her neck. Assuming a new identity, Sanja enters the fairylands, a place that no reasonable person would even consider visiting, especially one who was groomed to do little more than sit on a throne and pop out the next generation of royals. In the sheltered world of the fae is a magic system accessible to Sanja as a human but, even if she'd known about it, she had certainly never been exposed to it. Ultimately, it's the mages that keep Sanja from becoming a fae fatality and one, in particular, Tristan, that also may provide Sanja with a sanctuary of the heart and some magic of her own. As it turns out, she will need both in abundance.
The Quarter Mage is a fun fantasy with a lot going for it and, as the first in the series, has so many ways it can still evolve. Angelina J. Steffort has a knack for threading tension through each scene and crafting a landscape that feels immersive and authentic. The writing is ideal for young adults and has the necessary quick dive into Sanja's liking for Tristan, which impatient readers will relish. I am a fan of cutting to the chase so this worked out wonderfully for me, kept the storyline at a steady pace, and allowed the plot to unfold faster without too much romantic baggage. There's a delicious twist to this that hits hard later, as Steffort dangles a triangle in front of our faces that locks the reader in for book two, The Hour Mage. I love the trials, the focused-femme fight that Sanja grows into, and look forward to what Steffort has in store for us and Sanja's coming of age next. Highly recommended.