Lindsay Buroker’s books are always good for a fast-paced, page-turning ride—and Warrior Mage is no exception. It’s the first in the author’s new Chains of Honor series and there is never a dull moment, from the beautiful cover to a closing scene that leaves the reader chomping at the bit for what happens next. I was delighted to take the author up on her offer of a free read in exchange for an honest review. So here it is!
Buroker takes seriously the instructions to “start in the middle of the action.”
Yanko stifled a groan, trying to blink away the sand in his eyes and spit out the dirt plastering his tongue. Pain shot from his hands to his neck as his arms were nearly twisted from their sockets.
The main character, Yanko, starts the story with a bang, duking it out on the testing grounds of the elite Stargrind school of magic, chosen to redeem his family from disgrace because he’s the only one who can wield magic. Things don’t slow down after that, though there are a few places where you can at least catch your breath. Set in the same world as the Emperor’s Edge books, this tale offers a view from the continent of Nuria, but the author has promised some appearances from some old characters — indeed, one of them shows up in Warrior Mage. Not telling which. You’ll have to read and find out for yourself!
Yanko is eighteen. He’s still a kid—but he’s not. He’s got some growing up to do, and the Fates are seeing to it. I love how Buroker has made him smart (but not too smart), inexperienced, naïve in spite of himself, arrogant (in the way that only teens can be arrogant), and confused. I love the way that circumstances have pushed him along, and he goes without stopping to think about it the way an adult might. Another intriguing aspect of the story is how he deals with — and learns more about — magic. Without being formally schooled, he has the option of being creative, of exploring through participation. His specialty is the earth sciences, and they are not particularly popular in the rest of his world.
And his new bodyguard? Dak is Turgonian—the enemy. He’s also full of mystery and unexplained secrets and activities. In spite of the enmity between their countries (or perhaps because of it, we’ll have to read more to learn!), he takes a particular shine to his new charge. At least a dozen times I wondered out loud, “WHAT is going on in that man’s head?”
Besides the bodyguard, Yanko has a sidekick, too. Laeko may have Turgonian blood (also frowned upon in this neck of the woods), she’s an artist, she is curious and loyal—and drips sarcasm. Gotta love that gal.
The three of them embark on a secret quest that far too many people know about. From the outset they are dodging attacking armies, mage hunters, betrayal, explosions, confusion, secrets, plots within plots, suspicion and murder… And, without turning the story into a comedy, there is Buroker’s trademark humor. She knows exactly how to use it in just the way normal people would reacting to things out of their control or terrifying to the point of the ridiculous. I know that’s what I do, and that’s probably why Buroker’s stories work so well for me.
So. Question: When is the next book in the series coming?
You can pick up a copy here on Amazon: Warrior Mage, Chains of Honor Book 1
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Have you read it yet?
What did you think?
What’s your favorite book by Lindsay?