Saturday, July 29, 2017

Novella Review: Non-Heir (The Black Mage #0.5)

Release Date: January 24, 2017
Author: Rachel E. Carter
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 138 pages
Source: Purchased e-Book/Audio Book

Prince. Prodigy. Mage.

Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Falling Kingdoms, and Tamora Pierce.

This prequel novella is set before the events of The Black Mage series. Novella follows Prince Darren as a child through adolescence and his first run-in with Ryiah at the Academy of Magic. Readers discover the dark backstory between the two princes and their father, as well as the ensuing events that shaped Darren into the Academy’s most prodigal mage.



Protagonist: This story is about a young boy named Darren, he's second in line to his country's throne and his father is a sick monster of a man. Honestly, while I like Darren more or less, it's more that I feel sorry for what he has to deal with, his father's an abusive dick, his brother shows some psychotic tendencies, on top of all that he has to be the best at whatever he does or he'll face his father's wrath. I just want to give him a hug and tell him everything is gonna be alright. As the story progresses his personality starts to harden and it kind of comes on pretty fast. It's not that his character is uneven or develops super quickly, there's a few time jumps in this book as well as key moments in his life to explain why he's changed, but it still felt a bit rushed to me.

World Building: So, going into this novella, I thought I could read it before First Year, and still get something out of it, but really, this is something to better read after you've read the first book. This story acts mainly as a character study for Darren and explains, presumably, why he's such a douche in the first book. (Again, that's just guess work, I haven't read Book 1 yet.) In the end, while I did really enjoy this story, and I do feel like it did introduce me to this world and pique my interest for the rest of the series, I just think I would have appreciated it more had I read Book 1 first.

Predictability: So, since this story is really mostly a group of short stories to act as a character study there isn't all that much in this book to act as twists or turns. I do have to say though that the beginning was a bit confusing since it was almost told in a non-omniscient third person and it took a little while to get into the names. Overall, there were some very interesting points to the story, but nothing that really shocked me, unless you consider being baffled at how big of a pile of human garbage the king is a shocker.

Ending: Again, since this serves as more of a character study than anything else, the ending wasn't a huge final climax that builds everything to a head and spells what's to come next in this series. Instead, the reader is treated to what I can only guess are scenes from the first book told from Darren's point of view, and the story just sort of ends after a certain scene. I wasn't necessarily disappointed by this, but since I don't have as much emotional investment in these characters that I would have if I read the first book, it was just sort of meh.


Okay, so this story was very entertaining and emotionally scarring, but my biggest take away from this book is that for me to fully appreciate this story I should read the first full book, so after the BookTube-A-Thon, I'll pencil in time to start this series, because honestly, it looks pretty interesting.


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