STARRED REVIEW
October 2019

Angel Mage

By Garth Nix
Review by
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Generations ago, a plague of Ash Blood and strange beasts destroyed the land of Ystara, which its guardian archangel, Pallenial, appeared to have abandoned. The neighboring land of Sarance, protected by its own angelic hosts, was unaffected by the plague. A powerful young woman, Liliath, who may have caused the tragedy, was believed to have perished while fleeing Ystara. 

More than a hundred years later, Liliath reawakens in Sarance, eager to complete her devious and destructive plan to summon Pallenial. Her efforts bring her into contact with four young people: Agnez, a valiant, newly recruited Musketeer; Henri, the fortune-seeking youngest son of a poor family; Simeon, a dedicated doctoral student; and Dorotea, a gifted icon-maker with rare skills of angelic magic. Liliath’s plan brings these four strangers together, but although she watches them closely, she underestimates their resourcefulness and determination to uncover the truth about their bond, which could foil Liliath’s plan for the second time. 

Garth Nix found inspiration for this swashbuckling standalone fantasy novel in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Nix maintains the epic scope and derring-do of a 19th-century adventure novel, and like Dumas, his world is governed by powerful monarchs and church officials. However, Nix updates Dumas’ setting for 21st-century readers with clear (and deliberate) descriptions of an egalitarian world populated by men and women who command equal status and respect in every aspect of society, from politics to academia. He also adds a complex and fascinating system of angelic magic. 

With four dashing heroes, an unrepentantly evil villain, a sprawling cast of characters whose diversity is foregrounded and, refreshingly, no hints of romance between the protagonists, Angel Mage is a highly entertaining tale of valor and intrigue. 

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Angel Mage

Angel Mage

By Garth Nix
Katherine Tegen
ISBN 9780062683229

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