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The Mageborn Traitor (Exiles, #2)
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The Mageborn Traitor (Exiles #2)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,385 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Fantasy set on a world where women hold all economic and social power and following the lives of three magically gifted sisters.
Unknown Binding, 755 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Pan Books
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Rating details
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Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is really one and a half stars. Glenin, Sarra and Cailet are all grown at the start of this book, and they stop being pawns and start actually moving pieces themselves. Some more successfully than others.

Okay, here's where Rawn lost me: for some unknown, incomprehensible reason, Sarra and Cailet come over all stupid for plotting purposes. And not just for brief moments - for entire stretches of the second half of the book, I was muttering "you're supposed to be smarter than that". And the w
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As much as I love this series I would almost suggest not picking it up at all. This book was written around 15 years and the author apparently has no intention of finishing the series. Her husband died sometime after she wrote this book and she fell into a great depression and stopped writing for a while. Though she has started to write other series, I've read that she can't bring herself to work on these books because her late husband played such a huge part in their development of them. Sad fo ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Although I LOVED this book and the firstone in the series, I do NOT recommend that anyone read either of them, YET. The third book has never been written and it has been over 12 years since the last one was published. If and when the final book comes out I will change this rating, but so many unanswered questions/cliff hangers really spoil the first two books.
Patrick St-Denis
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Like many fantasy readers of my generation, I was a big fan of Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series back in the 90s. And when The Ruins of Ambrai, first volume in the Exiles trilogy, was published in 1994, I bought the hardcover edition as soon as it hit the shelves. Did the same when its sequel, The Mageborn Traitor, came out. Daunted by the proliferation of big fantasy series on the market, like I did with many other SFF sequences, I decided not to read them until the entire tri ...more
Amanda R


So good. So, so good. There are many valid criticisms to make - for example, this review cracks me up because she is not wrong! But there is so much else to love that I'm willing to forgive the bits that don't make sense as well as the scads of little inconsistencies, some of which can be chalked up to as-yet-unsolved mystery but some of which are just sloppy writing.

Overall, though, these books still own a huge piece of my heart and I will never stop lov
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Now if only she'd pretty please finish the series!
Martin L. Cahn
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent followup to the first book, but very plainly the middle of a trilogy. I continue to enjoy Rawn's creation of a matriarchal society in a fantasy setting. It's unfortunate Rawn's never written the third book. The characters are so rich and the overarching plot unresolved that readers deservedly have begged for completion. On the good side, both books are still complete stories unto themselves, with satisfactory if not fully happy endings in both cases.


The only two quibbles ar
Jessica Carmody
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I want to give this five stars, but since this is currently the last book, and it ends unresolved, and the third book will likely never come out, I'm only handing out 4 stars.

This is actually a great opportunity for some fan fiction, a series with great characters and a great start that just needs an ending.
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book but was disappointed by some of the plot twists. Makes me wonder if those plot twists are the reason she can't get the last book written. 12 years and counting between books is a bit ridiculous.
Daniel McGill
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just really wish she'd write the third one already.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
After I had reviewed the first book in the series, Ruins of Ambrai, I had pretty much thought that I had discovered my Achilles Heel of blogging. After trying to review this second book in the series, I'm positive that reviewing epic fantasy is not my strong suit. With epic fantasy there are so many story lines all vying for your attention and such a large (though brilliant) cast of characters, that it's hard for me to separate out what I should tell you and what is safe to leave out of a review ...more
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josephine McNabb
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book as much as the first one. I loved how the three sisters grew into themselves and their various roles, although Glenin had already been prepared to take over. I loved how this book spanned years and held my attention throughout.

I loved watching Caliet come to terms with who she was, is and will become. She went from a nervous child to a confident woman but still not the all powerful mage captal that she portrayed to her world.

Sarra has been by far one of my favourite character
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fantastic novel continuing in the years after the first volume of Exiles. The characters are engaging, the plot complex, and the politics amazingly relatable. There are only three flaws with this book. 1) The third book has not been, and likely will not be written. 2) The phrase "truly told" seems to be the only way that people are capable of expressing honesty. Truly told? That gets old when you see it every other page for 700 pages. 3) The system of magic is not very codified. Ma ...more
Rudi Bracaglia
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this series when Rawn first started it 12 years ago (OMG it's been that long?? Right in the childhood and dear Christ I'm getting old :( )

I was in tears when Collan died and Cailet lost so many loved ones - pretty much devoured the book and eagerly anticipated the next book. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I had no idea what had happened but assumed things would eventually be resolved. It took Tolkien 12 yrs to finish his masterpiece after all.

Imagine my fury when 10 yrs
King Haddock
Aug 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
For once, the second in a series is better than the first! The plot is more definite and intertwined, the characters more memorable, and a much clearer goal is outlined. True, it is slow in starting - the entire first section, though interesting and developing for the remaining characters in the previous novel, contributes little to the general plot. In the main body of the book, the Captal knows one of the Prentice Mages is a Malerrisi and traitor - as well as her own nephew - but she cannot fi ...more
Jen Christopherson
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I have been told the author never finished this series. I am very saddened by this as this book ended on a much different note than I had hoped. However, there is little I can do about it. Therefore, I would not recommend this book, or series, to anyone. Though the first two books are great and worth reading, it broke my heart to find out the series was unfinished with no plan by the author to finish. This is one of the reasons I don't read series until their finished.

With that said, I fell in l
Debby Allen
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reread this too, changed rating from 3 to 5. Story holds, don't know what bothered me about it before, maybe just that Captal's Tower wasn't likely to be written. Started rereading not knowing that it's due - eventually.

Even with a cast of hundreds, Melanie keeps them real and interesting. She doesn't get lost in her story, or lose her characters to the plot. Which was set up from the very beginning of Ruins. She thinks the /very/ long game better than any I recall.

Is being older what changed my
Melanie Rawn is an incredible storyteller, with her intriguing characters and exquisite world-building. While the "Mageborn Exiles" series is not as compelling as her "Dragon" series, this is one that fantasy fan should miss. Granted, I didn't like this book as much as the first "Exiles" book, but it's still a worthwhile read. Everything that one loves about Rawn's work is present here. And though it's true that we've all been waiting for a final book that may never come, I don't think anyone sh ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, re-read
It's been far too long since I read these to remember the exact details, so I'm adding these to my list to re-read - but what I do recall is once I started them, I couldn't put 'em down. I did feel that there were some parts that moved slowly, but it was one of my first exposures to what I'll call large-scale political-economic-magic world building that was different from the Tolkein/Heinlein styles. I guess I shouldn't complain about pace since Robert Jordan has not only taken that style to the ...more
Sean Spencer
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, magick, owned
Love this book and its predecessor. Still waiting for the release of the third book. I check Rawn's forum for news probably twice every year. Upon checking this afternoon, I happened upon some welcome news regarding Captal's Tower.

Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, re-read
Read the first book in this series as a young teenager, read this book on the verge of my early twenties. I want the 3rd book, which will more than likely never be written (it's been over a decade!) if only so that I can finish the series before I turn 30. I enjoyed the first book in this series far more than the second but, given that I'm the sort of person who hates starting and not finishing a book, I hate starting and not finishing a series. Seriously, even an epilogue...?
Dec 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, from-library
I read the first one years ago so picked this up when I saw it in the library. Admittedly my reading wasn't enhanced by the fact that I had only the shakiest memory of the first one but I just couldn't get into this. Maybe if we'd seen more of the motivations of the rival/evil Maherissi faction rather than them metaphorically stroking their cats and chortling evil laughs I would have enjoyed it more. Fantasy has moved on a bit since this.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was great to read about the sisters all grown up. Although it started out a bit odd (I didn't quite get the beginning and didn't care for it much) the book did get better. So don't stop reading it! I would say the best part was the second half of the book. I do think it stinks one of the main characters had to die. Maybe he will miraculously come back! Can't wait to read the third book!
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
How does that woman have me weeping my heart out one moment and then laughing in sheer delight the next? Such a beloved book. And I'm okay, I am, to end it here. There doesn't need to be a Captal's Tower... not that I wouldn't have loved it as well if it had been what it should, but time passes and chances are lost, and I'm more than grateful for what I did get from the first two books.
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I forget how I picked up the Exiles series. I recall enjoying them and then being disappointed that book 3 hadn't come out yet, then watching it for a couple of YEARS before finally giving up. I saw book 3 is listed here on Goodreads and though "oh, maybe it finally came out!" but... nope! Decent series but when the author herself gives up on it... ehhh...
Q Turner
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Melanie is my favorite author, despite her penchant for killing off my favorite characters. She's a subtle author, great sense of timing and rarely if ever do you sense the puppet master pulling threads. The characters are rich and deep, the stories convoluted enough to feel real, the details fantastic enough to transport you to another world. Beautiful work.
Michele bookloverforever
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I truly enjoyed this book and this series thus far. However, just found out my library does not have the 3rd book in the trilogy. sigh. Found the characters compelling and the plot fascinating. I think the ending of this book with 2 strong women having to reinvent themselves is true to life in many respects.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I refuse to read anything else of hers until the third book is written. I loved this series and think it's a shame that she refuses to write the 3rd book. So unless you want to be waiting years for a conclusion, don't bother reading this series.
Kate Reese
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Again, breathtaking writing & threads of another world that bind you tightly, but it also leaves you wanting Book Three - which I think will never come. The bane of a 'Rawn' reader I've heard said. Only read them if you don't need to finish what you start nor completely understand them all.
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Melanie Rawn received a BA in history from Scripps College and worked as a teacher and editor before becoming a writer.

She has been nominated for a Locus award on three separate occasions: in 1989 for Dragon Prince (in the first novel category), in 1994 for Skybowl (in the fantasy novel category), and again in 1995 for Ruins of Ambrai (in the fantasy novel category).

More about Melanie Rawn...

Other Books in the Series

Exiles (3 books)
  • The Ruins of Ambrai (Exiles, #1)
  • The Captal's Tower (Exiles, #3)