The Gossamer Mage by Julie E Czerneda
Standalone fantasy is a bit of a rarity. So often, whether because of Tolkien or other influences, we end up with trilogies or epic sagas spanning four or more books. I’m a huge fan of big epic series, but it’s also nice to enjoy a self-contained story from time to time. The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda scratches that itch perfectly. With world building that includes unique and engaging elements as well as an incredibly fascinating magic system, Czerneda’s novel is sure to please fantasy fans looking for a standalone read.
Czerneda’s story is filled with amazingly unique world building elements. The magic system in this world involves mages paying life in order to create made-creations of various sorts that perform certain tasks or otherwise do their bidding. The story doesn’t hesitate to explore the impact this has on the world. Magic is expensive because doing it shortens the life of the mage. This also results in a number of very well-off, geriatric mages. It’s rare for fantasy to explore the implications of powerful magic-users as they begin to lose their memory, their physical abilities, or their restraint. Czerneda, on the other hand, does an excellent job of fleshing out the very real negative effects of aging on the mages themselves as well as on society as a whole. The magic was outstanding because it played such a role in the lives of the characters affected by it. Incredibly well done! The religious system and mythology of the world are also interesting and there’s actually a good bit crammed into this novel, though it never felt shoehorned in or like it was dumped on the reader. Each bit was well integrated and felt important to the story and world building necessary for the story to have the impact it did. As the plot ramps up after the initial introductions the stakes quickly become epic and Czerneda does a good job of keeping the tension high. Initially this is done through a number of questions and mysteries surrounding the goals of the antagonists, but this is all handled in fresh ways that kept me engaged throughout. I can’t say that this is a fast-paced novel, but it is very well paced and an enjoyable read that kept me reading and gave me that “just one more page” feeling. Part of this was helped along by the range of emotions the novel elicits. There were moments that made me smile, moments of joy but also moments of sadness and intense emotion. This emotional range made the story shine.
In terms of criticisms, my main complaint with this novel is that the chapters are incredibly long, but in the midst of these we change perspectives back and forth between characters often. We might have a page from one character’s perspective, only to jump to a different character - in the same geographical area - for a few pages before jumping back to the first character before moving on to a character in a different location. I was never confused about which perspective I was reading, but to change perspective so often was a little jarring before I got used to it. The story also has a bit of a mythological feel to it and I never felt connected to a particular character. In the end, this didn’t end up as a huge negative. It almost felt like the characters were more legends than individuals. It’s a different writing style that perhaps isn’t as common in modern fantasy, but I think it turned out well here.
I can’t say enough about the magic, religion, and the story itself. A fine standalone tale, I imagine The Gossamer Mage will be one I’ll return to often. A wonderful, hopeful fantasy, this is one you don’t want to miss.
This The Gossamer Mage book review was written by Calvin Park
Have you read The Gossamer Mage?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Gossamer Mage reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Ursula Le Guin
As a young dragonlord, Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and hel...
The Kingkiller Chronicle
"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my l...
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him wh...
Year of the Unicorn
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish come...
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
When her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is sent to Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular 1920s boarding school, Amy...
The Lightbringer Trilogy
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. His strength, wit and charm are all that preserve a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exac...
The Saga of Recluce
LE Modesitt Jr
Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circum...
Great fantasy books published in 2019
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
The Raven Tower
For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres...
The 10,000 Doors of January
Alix E Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut....
The Priory of the Orange Tree
A world divided.A queendom without an heir.An ancient enemy awakens.The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen S...
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.Meet Dodger, his twin. Numb...
A Little Hatred
War. Politics. Revolution. The Age of Madness has arrived... The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep a...
The Hod King
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word...
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN....
Galaxy 'Alex' Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school earl...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: