David Hair’s “Mage’s Blood”

A Must Read 300This week I am reviewing a book I picked up on an impulse buy, and I consider it one of the best purchases I have made this year. David Hair’s Mage’s Blood is the first book of the Moontide Quartet series. Obviously, this means that the series has four parts and is vast in scope. Unfortunately, this is also Hair’s biggest flaw with this particular book: but this will be discussed momentarily. The story follows a trio of unlikely heroes, made up of a peasant girl, a gruff mercenary, and a lackluster mage, as they influence the fates of the nations of Yuros and Antiopia. Yuros, the Western continent, is famed for its military might, which is based almost entirely around magic. The Eastern land of Antiopia is rich in natural resources, and has been spared the violence of war for the past twelve years. The continents are divided, and the Leviathan Bridge, a magically-built structure designed for commerce and trade, arises every dozen years at an event known as the Moontide. Naturally, access to a resource-rich land leads to war, and the past two Moontides have seen Antiopia sacked by the mighty Yuros army. Now, the Third Crusade approaches, and the three people most likely to not make a difference will soon influence a conflict spanning decades.

David Hair is new to the world of adult-oriented novels, as his previous works revolved around teens. That being said, he has managed to create a story that is conceptually fascinating and characters that are rich in their depth. I have read works by many established fiction authors that are far less well-written. Despite the fact that the story features the typical “unlikely heroes,” Hair has managed to give them depth beyond a mere desire for their goal. They think, react, succeed, and fail as real people do, which is often difficult for fantasy writers to accomplish. The idea of the Moontide, and the cultures of Yuros and Antiopia, are some of the most intriguing that I have come across. In fact, much of the story has a mythological feel (especially the Leviathan Bridge) that keeps things wondrous, yet still somewhat familiar. This massive scope of the work is also the book’s major shortcoming. The pacing is all over the place. Some segments feel rushed, while others seem to drag on. Seeing as how the series has four planned parts, Hair has a lot of material to cover, which is likely to blame for the up-and-down pacing. Personally, I like when parts of the story drag on. I crave detail. Still, I am aware that to many readers this is a turnoff, so I have to mention it, for your sake. If you don’t like fantasy, you probably need to look somewhere else: this is high fantasy at its finest. I do entreat you to skim the book a little at your local bookstore, as the imagery and sense of wonder Hair portrays might entice you to try it out. If you like epics, or you simply love a good story and some memorable characters, the summer season is the perfect time to sit on the porch, lean back in your favorite chair, and lose yourself in another, fantastic world: this just might be the book you have been waiting for.

I’ve just picked up a handful of great books, so I’m excited to share these with you in the coming days and weeks!

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor