Audiobook Review: Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
Narrator: Matt Addis
Published by Hachette Audio on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Epic
"I can command storms, summon fire and unmake stone," Balfruss growled. "It's dangerous to meddle with things you don't understand." Balfruss is a battlemage, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises his kind.
Vargus is a common soldier -- while mages shoot lightning from the walls of the city, he's down in the front lines getting blood on his blade.
Talandra is a princess and spymaster, but the war may force her to risk everything and make the greatest sacrifice of all.
Magic and mayhem collide in this explosive epic fantasy from a major new talent.
Battlemage is a bloody battle ridden book that is fun in the familiarities and interesting for its differences. It is a classic good versus evil story, complete with a mad emperor, religious zealots and lots of battles. Like, lots of battles. The story is told through three points of view, each providing a unique vantage point giving the reader the inside track of the different way the war was being waged.
Balfrus is one of the battlemages who are fighting for the King of Seveldrom. They are at war against Zecorria, which is led by a mad Emperor who has a powerful battlemage of his own called The Warlock. Don’t names like that just make characters sound more ominous? But of course a powerful battlemage who does the bidding of a mad emperor is bound to inspire a good amount of enmity to earn his name. While there is a good deal more magic going on in this book than a typical grimdark book, there is actually a good deal amount of mundane human battle occurring as well. I enjoyed Balfrus’ perspective, and gaining insight to what it was like for him, as well as other battlemages to be separated from their families at a young age to be trained to prepare to serve in the capacity they are now serving.
Vargus is an mercenary that is down in the trenches, getting dirty and bloody fighting this war. While battlemages pit against each other, using magic, sorcery, mind control to serve their ends, Vargus and his comrades are swords length from their enemies fighting up close and personal, putting their own life and blood on the line to serve. They all make sacrifices, but the seeing the difference between the two groups was interesting.
Talandra is a princess of Seveldrom. But, don’t make the mistake of pegging her as a vapid girl with her sights only on potential marriage prospects or the latest fashions. Talandra is bright and crafty, and, well, she also happens to be a spymaster. Her actions prove that physical strength and magical strength are not the only ways to fight a war. Intelligence and planning are crucial and can make all the difference. See, this is the type of female character I can’t help but love.
The plot and story were undeniable enjoyable and exciting. My only issue while reading is that at times I just wished some of the battles were a little shorter, or certain aspects a tad less predictable. But also keeping in mind this is a debut book, I think the author is worth watching, and the series worthy of reading on.
Audiobook Note: Matt Addis delivers a good performance in this with a pleasing voice. His inflection and tone helped reinforce the characterizations and added to the reading experience.