Book Title: Angel Mage
Author: Garth Nix
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Hardback from Gollancz
Amazon UK, Goodreads
Plot Summary: More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.
A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.
Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.
But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.
The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . .
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Gollancz. Thank you!
What did I think?
Look how pretty this book is!
Garth Nix is a beloved fantasy author, and I was incredibly excited to find out that his newest work would not only be a standalone, but also a mash-up between two of my favourite things: musketeers and angels.
The magic system is innovative and clever. People summon angels with the help of icons, but at a cost: a chunk of their lifespan. The more powerful the angel, the bigger the chunk.
The characters all have great depth and the relationship between the four is believable and genuine. The world-building is vivid and displays Nix's vast imagination. Nix is also an incredible writer, and reading Angel Mage reminded me of being a teenager and reading The Three Musketeers.
Despite all these positive aspects, I struggled to connect both with the plot and the characters, and at least in the beginning, had to force myself to pick the book up and keep reading. Once I reached the mid-point, it really began to flow, and I read the second part in a day.
Overall, I'm left with many positive feelings and found the book empowering and captivating. On top of that, Nix not only incorporates LGBTQ+ characters seamlessly into his narrative, he also avoids adding sexism, and his society is racially diverse.
And women get to be powerful in this book!
I recommend this to fantasy readers who enjoy angels, Dumas fans, fans of Garth Nix and everyone who is intrigued by the premise.