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The Sentinel Mage (Cursed Kingdoms Trilogy) Paperback – 3 Feb 2011


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The Sentinel Mage (Cursed Kingdoms Trilogy) + The Fire Prince (Cursed Kingdoms 2) + Thief with No Shadow
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907519491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907519499
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.4 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'**** - the writing is compelling, the characters well-drawn, the world is well-realised and you'll be left champing at the bit for the next installment.' SFX --Sfx

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 May 2011
Format: Paperback
In a crowded market such as fantasy, a new book needs something in order to stand out.

This one has a striking cover image. Which bears little relation to the plot. But it certainly caught my eye.

And yet like many it's the first volume in a trilogy and it has maps of the locations where the story is set at the front.

So will it grab the readers attention after that?

Yes it does. By throwing you right into the story through the eyes of Jaume. An eight year old farm boy living in the fantasy land where the tale takes place. Who in a matter of a few pages is forced to run for his life when an ancient curse takes hold and turns people into vicious killers. This opening chapter is fast and uncompromising and well depicts how life can change in an instant. It really grabs.

Then we're in one of the kingdoms of this land, where a group of magic users - people of that kind aren't well liked by those who aren't - have to persuade a king that his son is the only hope for lifting the curse. Because he has magical blood. Which comes as news to him. And doesn't go down too well since he's steeped in all the preudices people have against magic users.

When the son turns out to have more honour than the king he and the magic users have to run for their lives. Leaving his sister behind at the mercy of their father, with only her faithful armsman to protect her.

Amongst the magic users is Innis, a girl with a lot less experience than her comrades. But also a superbly talented shapeshifter. Since the prince won't trust magic users, Innis has to pretend to be a male armsman, and become someone the prince will trust.

And that's the first sixty three pages flown by in no time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback
A curse was laid on a continent several generations ago, which has now come to life, and a mage's blood is needed to lift it. But that mage must be a legitimate royal prince. Harkeld doesn't want anything to do with witchery, and is distraught to hear that a mage was inveigled into his family's bloodline. His tyrant father wants the curse to be lifted only when it allows their kingdom to seize empty land. But Harkeld is not prepared to have the continent laid waste and escapes with his life. All that is needed is to chop off his hands and bring his blood to three rune stones in turn, so assassins follow as he chases off with a small band of mages to lift the curse.

Innis is a young female mage and with her friends she can shapeshift. Taking animal or bird form is well and good, but people fear them, and their rules forbid taking human form. Unless, of course, it's life or death. And this occasion warrants such measures. Innis takes the form of a normal soldier, an armsman to guard the prince. Between hawks in the sky and wolves patrolling, Harkeld has no idea that his armsman is any of three mages in turn, conserving their energy and swopping places.

We also get Brigitta the sister of Harkeld, a princess married off as a reward to a soldier, with no say in her life, and her two servants who would give their lives for her. And a young boy who flees the waking curse and starts a refugee flood moving, heading towards Harkeld and his escort on the other side of the continent.

I liked the story which is slow-moving enough to get deeply into the situations and has action and vivid characters. Years ago there might have been uproar about a woman shifting into the form of a man, but it's a good idea well worked out and the story flows. One of the rune stones is addressed in this book so clearly there will be a trilogy. I'm looking forward to the rest.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Miss J. Eyre on 12 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
This might not be the most original fantasy story I've ever read but I certainly enjoyed it enough to finish it within two days. I've read the author's previous two stand alone novels and liked the way she combined her fantasy plot with a romantic sub-plot without it becoming too smutty. This one has less romance and more action in comparison, although there are hints of some romance to follow in the sequel.

The characters could do with a little more depth occasionally, especially the secondary ones, and there were some character traits that were very similar to those from the author's other novels. This didn't bother me that much though, I like the way she writes and how the story flows, and I still cared enough about most of the characters to root for them.

To be fair, I was always going to enjoy this story as it has one of my favourite plot devices: female masquerading as male. This isn't quite up there with my favourites (Robin Hobb's character Althea Vestrit in Ship of Magic as a sailor and Tamora Pierce's Alanna as a knight) and I hope this aspect is expanded on in the next volume, which I will be purchasing as soon as it's released.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane in Derby on 26 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
Fun to read and well written; this book will be enjoyed by younger adults or anyone looking for a light and enjoyable read. There are enough characters and strands to the story to keep it interesting without being distracting.
If the character relationships are looking a bit predictable this is offset by a death which comes unexpectedly.
The story draws you in and is a good page turner - I'm looking forward to the next installment
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