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The Tethered Mage

(Swords and Fire #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,962 ratings  ·  425 reviews
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.

Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be
Paperback, 438 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Orbit
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Popular Answered Questions
Yasmin Foster It feels very YA (regardless of what the author might say). Its got quite a few YA tropes, whether that is good or bad depends on your taste.
Erinn Gustafson There are love interests for the two main female characters.

Community Reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I had a great time with this book! There was never a point that is was boring, at least not to me. =)

**Maybe some minor spoilers**

Amalia Cornaro is out one evening getting a rare book when she runs into a fire mage and a Falconer.

Zaira has been in hiding all of these years because she doesn't want to be a slave to the city. She has lived in some horrible situations as a result.

Amalia was trying to save her from some ruffians when she set off her fire and was on the brink of burning the town d
James Lafayette  Tivendale
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a review copy of The Tethered Mage in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Melissa Caruso, Nazia, and Orbit. Less than a week ago I had no idea what to read next. I picked up this book as the cover looked gorgeous and contained quotations from RJ Barker, Anna Smith Spark, and Vic James. I'm super happy that I did and I would describe this book as YA political fantasy with magic - almost like the perfect mix of Gilded Cage and The Lies of Locke Lamora.

The world of Eruvi
Robin (Bridge Four)
Sale Alert: Kindle Daily Deal 9/11/18 for $1.99

Have you ever bought a book just because you really liked the cover? I fall into this trap every once and awhile and I will say that I sometimes it bites me in the butt but at least this time the inside of the book was about as substantial as the outside.

Political intrigues aren’t really my cup-o-tea. I’m more action/world building oriented in my fantasy but the Tethered Mage did a pretty decent job of holding my attention even so.

Amalia is heir to
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

I'm not going to do a full review because I am SO backed up, but here's a quick summary of my thoughts -

Obviously, I loved it, but do note that it's a slower book. But not a bad slow by any means - it was so well written and immersive with tension around every corner. Lush in every way. I felt absolutely entranced with the world, and I'm a huge sucker for court politics - which is a LARGE focus of the story. (I've been dying for a good political fantasy for a l
Sh3lly (
Main characters:

Amalia Cornaro, daughter of a powerful politician, a “well-bred” Falconer

Zaira, a fire mage and Falcon, found in the slums

Marcello, a Falconer, officer who runs the Mews (place where Falcons and Falconers live and train)

Prince Ruven, a vivomancer who lives in Vaskandar, rival and villain

Domenic, Amalia’s friend and minor politician, caught in the middle of a would-be revolution

There are many other supporting characters to flesh out this tale of political intrigue, betrayal, mag
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Looks like my list of best fantasy debuts of 2017 grows yet again, and I have another new author to keep my eye on. Although there’s no magic formula to determine what makes a good novel (not to mention I can’t always explain why certain books simply work well for me while others do not), there are still a few key elements I generally look for, including believable and compelling characters, realistic atmospheric and wor
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review from Tenacious Reader:

4.5/5 stars

The Tethered Mage was a very enjoyable read with an interesting magic system.

Individuals in this world develop a tell tale mage-mark (a ring on their iris) as they develop their magical ability. There are different types of abilities that may manifest and some display at a younger age than others. But regardless of ability, if a child displays the mage-mark, they must be enlisted as a Falcon. A “jess” is put on thei
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Figure out what you are good at and make that the game"

* * * *
4 / 5

The Tethered Mage is a Venetian inspired fantasy novel featuring hefty amounts of political skulduggery - one of my favourite things. It might be a little low on the action despite featuring a heavy-hitting Fire Warlock, but when the fights are there, they're good. Featuring two great female leads, The Tethered Mage is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

We follow the viewpoint of Lady Amalia Cornaro, daughter of one of the
Molly Mortensen
The writing was so well done, I would've thought this was a veteran writer not a debut. I highlighted several passages that I just liked the way she phrased things.

More books need to focus on female friendship and Tethered Mage did it well. Their friendship progressed slowly and felt true.

I easily related to Amalia, a book loving girl who'd rather hole up in her room than go to a party. She's heir to one of the city's ruling families but though she's rich her life hasn't been easy. (I only wis
Dec 13, 2017 added it
Shelves: library

There are some interesting ideas thrown in here but overall the plot, characters, and language are too simplistic to really draw you in. I’d definitely put it at YA level, it actually reminded me of Caraval in tone, dialogue, and the blushes of teen romance. Not for me.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, vine, dnf, just-don-t
Can we stop having pale people 'rescue' dark people by kidnapping them and holding them against their will? That'd be great.
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
4.5 stars.

As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Tethered Mage is the first book in the Swords and Fire trilogy by Melissa Caruso and oh boy, what a tremendous start to the trilogy it is!

On her way back from the Tallows (the rough and seedy district of Raverra) a chance encounter means that Lady Amalia Cornaro comes across
BAM The Bibliomaniac

Many thanks go to Melissa Caruso, Orbit Books, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

This is Book one in the Swords and Fire trilogy.

3.5 stars really enjoyed this!

Lady Amalia Cornaro is eighteen years old, precocious, intelligent, beautiful, and the heir to her mother, La Contessa Lissandra. She preferred to run around in the less desired areas of the city searching for grimoires wearing men's breeches instead of her court gowns. But one jou
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
*4.5 stars*

You can find this and many more reviews at my blog Marianna's Corner!

Are you looking for a diverse fantasy with kickass, strong and intelligent females, an amazing magic system and political scheming that will blow your mind? If your answer is YES, then this book is for you!

We follow Amalia Cornaro, an heir of one of the most powerful families in Raverra, as she accidentally gets herself stuck in the web of politics and scheming, by becoming the Falconer of a balefire mage, Zaira.

Unfortunately this is going to be a DNF. I'm about 40% in and gosh, it's so boring. I liked the idea behind the story, but nothing has happened. There's a lot of talk, political machinations - or talk of it - and I just don't care about any of the characters. Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this to review.

Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

Kathryn at Book Ink Reivews
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A copy of this review can be found at Book Ink Reviews.

Have you ever read a book that you've enjoyed so thoroughly  that you actually slowed down and read the whole Acknowledgements section desperate for anything more from a talented author? I can count on one had how many times I've done that out of the hundreds of books I've read in recent years. This one, people, is for the records, then. Because it now must be counted among those that I read through to the very acknowledged end.

In a brillian
Jeff Wheeler
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Tethered Mage by up and coming author Melissa Caruso. It’s an engaging cross between Machiavelli’s The Prince and Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Here’s the premise – those who possess magic in the Raverran Empire reveal the mage-mark in their eyes as they age and each are taken as children and brought up in the elegant palace Mews in the heart of the empire to be trained in their various magical arts. Their magic is controlled through a set o ...more
Nov 29, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
I received a free copy of The Tethered Mage in exchange for an honest review.

dnf 26%

*Sighs* I wanted so badly to finish this book, but I just....I just couldn't. Maybe it was the slow plot, the cardboard characters, or just the story as a whole, but I could not bring myself to continue reading this. Let's continue.

The Characters

Image result for inhales deeply gif

Ah yes, those people. Um yeah they were pretty annoying...but anyhow. Lets start off with our MC.

Okay, just to be blunt, who even was she??? Did she have a persona
Liz Barnsley
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ooh good this one was. That was my attempt at Yoda again. I’m never any good at it but it’s always worth a try.

So The Tethered Mage is a political thriller. Kind of. I’m glad Theresa May doesn’t have access to falcons.

This book has magical mayhem and behind the scenes shenanigans, a brilliantly imagined world and two girls bound to each other by fate and fury. Mostly on Zaira’s part the fury. Which is unfortunate as she possesses the ability to burn the world to the ground so a bit like the hulk
Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)
This is never easy to admit, but sometimes I just cannot get into a book I am reading. Whether the cause is poor writing, convoluted plotting, annoying characters, or even just an uninteresting topic, I always find it hard to put down a book that someone obviously poured their blood, sweat, and tears into. But then there are books that really rub me the wrong way.

As much as I hate to say this, The Tethered Mage just did not make me want to keep reading. The first chapter was a good dramatic star
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My only regret about The Tethered Mage is that I didn't read it sooner, so I didn't nominate it for a Subjective Chaos Kind of Award. On the other hand, this has dramatically reduced the amount of time I had to wait to read the sequel!

This is instantly one of my favourite fantasies. Alt-fantasy Venice is always a draw for me, and Caruso has a fine touch for character and politics that makes this a joy. This is a book I wish I'd read when I was a teen inundated with fantasies of chosen one farme
hmm...the cover reminds me of Six of Crows, now I'm curious about this book.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid and charming debut which has its fun. A fantasy world based upon 1600s Venetian times, with numerous characters all politically scheming for control. We have mages/warlocks who can control magic or use magic, and people called Falcons/Falconers who can in a sense capture these people and control their use of the abilities. The main character is a Falconer an important person at that, who accidentally saves but also captures Zaira a mage and is now under her control. Its this relationship ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good! I'm giving it five stars even though I went into it thinking it was a f/f romance and was thoroughly disappointed when I found out it wasn't. Loved the world and the politics can't wait to see where it can go.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-ecopy
I quite loved the beginning of this book as we are introduced to the magic and the bookish but feisty main characters. Things dragged a bit towards the 2/3 mark as political machinations and war became the focus of the plot. I at first compared this world to The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I stand by that assessment as far as the world-building goes. However, the plot is political intrigue instead of a heist. If you enjoy political plots, definitely grab this book, the magic and characters are ama ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I found Amalia to be really naive and childish and other characters to be very 2d. The concept and world building was good but at times I felt the storyline was a bit pantomime like. In the end I did enjoy it. I'm not racing to get the second book but I will probably read it at some point.
I just think there are some better books that are much better.
Clare T.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young adult lovers, fantasy lovers, political fantasy
Thank you, Netgalley and publishers, for an advanced e-book copy of this story! All opinions are still my own and are not influenced in any way.

The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso is a young adult, fantasy novel about an esteemed heir, Amalia Cornaro, who, by accident, becomes a Falconer. Falconers control Falcons: mages with different and distinct powers, and Amalia ends up with one of the most powerful. With this newfound power, Amalia is thrust into political situations and must stop her coun
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Source* NetGalley
*Genre* Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
*Rating* 4.0


The Tethered Mage, by author Melissa Caruso, is the first installment in the authors Swords and Fire Trilogy. The Tethered Mage caught my attention with it's beautiful world building; which reminded me so much of Venice, Italy. The story is deep in court intrigue & magic, has a twisty story plot with plenty of action, and a friendship that grows out of two very different engaging characters in Lady Amalia Cornaro and Za
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

This was middle range for me...

Review to follow
Suzanne (The Bookish Libra)
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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/r/Fantasy Discus...: * January 2019: The Tethered Mage 1 17 Dec 28, 2018 03:08PM  
Play Book Tag: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso, 5 stars 9 16 Dec 05, 2018 02:59PM  
Melissa Caruso is the author of THE TETHERED MAGE, first in the Swords and Fire trilogy, out now from Orbit books.

Other books in the series

Swords and Fire (3 books)
  • The Defiant Heir (Swords and Fire, #2)
  • The Unbound Empire (Swords and Fire #3)