Michael DeAngelo’s Mageborn is a slim volume from his Tellest series. The fantasy tale introduces readers to new characters and gives a taste of the invented world in which they live. Gaston, the aged wizard, and Adelia, his new pupil, are well drawn and it’s refreshing to see a young woman as a lead character. Her pairing with the ancient and slightly eccentric male lead adds a good deal of charm to the story.
Whilst I question some word choices, I found the overall style of writing in tune with the tale. The vaguely ancient and sometimes obtuse language fits well with an arcane world, lending veracity to the fantasy elements. The world itself will be familiar to readers of the earlier books in the series, but it was slowly and subtly revealed as the story progressed, adding layers of mystery designed to enhance the reading experience.
I enjoy reading about people I can empathise with, and had no difficulty seeing through the eyes of both main characters. The switch of viewpoints was a little confusing on occasion, but this seems a fairly common feature of contemporary writing and I’ve no doubt many readers would be undisturbed by it.
There is adventure and tension mingled with the charm of this introductory tale. The descriptive passages paint pictures that bring the world alive and some of the incidents, cleverly crafted for surprise, do cause the reader to gasp. The story slowly builds and the denouement flows naturally from events, leading to an ending that is satisfying and promises more to come from this unlikely but well-matched pair of protagonists.
Readers of the genre will find this a delightful read and it serves well as an introduction to the world of Tellest for those unfamiliar with it. A good read.