Bloodmage by Stephen Aryan

bloodmageI enjoyed Bloodmage so much I read it twice this year – once on release, and again a little later to refresh my memory for a review. I enjoyed it very much both times. Check out my full review at SFFWorld, but I highly recommend this series.

Bloodmage (Age of Darkness #2) is Stephen Aryan’s second novel, following on from events inBattlemage (review), though not necessarily a direct sequel in the strictest terms. I mentioned in my review of Battlemage that I was drawn to it primarily because of my friendship with Steve – fantasy not being my go-to genre – but I approached Bloodmage in an entirely different way. I was eager to read it to see where the story would go, what twists and turns were in store, and just how the world is progressing after the epic climax in the first novel. What I found not only met my expectations, but blew past them, delivering a second novel that is perhaps even more enjoyable than Battlemage.

I had very few issues with Bloodmage, finding the story, characters, and pacing excellent. I was immersed from the first page, enjoying the change of scenery while also appreciating the underlying threads that had been carried forward from Battlemage. Being a hard-to-please reader when it comes to the fantasy genre, Stephen Aryan’s Age of Darkness novels have measured up exceedingly well. Great stuff.

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

battlemageMy latest review over at SFFWorld is Battlemage by Stephen Aryan. For longtime readers of Walker of Worlds you will likely recognise the name – Steve reviewed here with me back in 2011, and this is his debut novel. I was very much looking forward to reading Battlemage, and despite it not being my usual go-to genre, I really enjoyed it. Read my full review here.

To start with let me say that Battlemage is a very quick read. Not only are the characters and story interesting, but Stephen Aryan manages to tell the story fluidly and without preamble. It’s easy to get caught up in the narrative, and the switching between the three main protagonists does little to slow the story – if anything it ensures that you keep on reading to find out what is happening to them when they are off-page. The structure is sound, while the action, intrigue, and entertainment really makes this a debut that shows great promise for the future.

While the story and characters are both interesting, it’s the world in which Battlemage is set that I really enjoyed reading about. While we are dropped into this fully formed world and learn little things about it in the early chapters, it’s as the story progresses that other aspects become apparent, and many questions raised. This was, perhaps, the most frustrating thing about Battlemage for me – I wanted to learn more and more about the history of the world, the races that inhabit it, and how everything has changed throughout the ages. But Steve peppers the narrative with titbits, not quite giving full explanations, but presenting enough to make me want to read the next novel to find out more.