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Rotten Magic

(The Artifice Mage Saga #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Destiny in one hand. Doom in the other. Which will destroy him first?

Artificers are the gilded princes of the Iron Empire. Mages are violent criminal outcasts. Devin competes to become the best artificer in the empire . . . but he's secretly a mage.

Devin, a young skilled apprentice, dreams of becoming the master of his craft if he can only resist the sinuous allure of ma
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published August 9th 2017 by Twigboat Press (first published August 8th 2017)
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Ann Hupe
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing

The eternal clash between Magick vs Steampunk Mechanics.

(Note: Technically, it should be Rotten Magick (discerning and controlling the alchemical energies of the multi-universes) rather than Rotten Magic, the art of sleight-of-hand illusions… just smoke and mirrors.)

For some reason, I got an early manuscript of this story, a
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Although this is described as a novella prequel to the Artifice Mage series, I didn't find it particularly illuminating  as the start to a series.  And, as it appears that this addition to the series was released after Book 1, I'm not entirely sure that it was intended to be the series starter.

I confess that I found myself confused for much of this book.  There wasn't much in the way of back story or explanation for the voices or the game or, well, anything.  As a result, it was a slow read and
Gordon Long
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, how to put this. “Rotten Magic” is not a novel. According to the title of the Introduction, it is “Notes from the Artificer’s Guild.” A much more apt description. It is more like a series of short stories with chapters interspersed between each other.

Likewise, the writing style comes at you just a bit slantwise. There seems to be plenty of action and lots of things happening, but everything is filtered through the emotions of the main character of the given chapter: Drusilla in the first p
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirstie Ellen
Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing
This was a very interesting start to the series. I loved that Devin, the main character, was such a tinkerer and could create what was effectively a mechanical dragon. It wasn't quite what I was anticipating but the story holds a bunch of potential. It'll be make or brake to see which direction book one takes things in!

Rotten Magic
This is a novella which gives us a very interesting introduction to the series. It follows a young boy - an apprentice - called Devin wh
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a book that reads like a steampunk version of Ender's Game with magic and an element of dragons - look no further. You're currently reading a review of that book. A slim novella packed with punches, Jeffrey Bardwell's Rotten Magic starts off the Artifice Mage Saga with a bang (several, in fact). Setting and characters are intriguing, relationships are complex, ambition is powerful, and magic is dangerous.

Devin is an intriguing character because he doesn't fit nicely into t
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book starts of the story of the prospective apprentice, Devin, who joins the Artificer’s Guild on his quest to become a Journeyman. An Artificer works on machines, invent and do repairs for the people.

He wants to be the best of the best and become the first apprentice in his class to pass the exams to become a Journeyman, the next level up. But, he has a secret, which he has only shared with his little sister, that he is a Mage. Someone who can do Magic, which is outlawed and anyone suspect
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rotten Magic is a sort of prequel to the main series of books, known as the Artiface Mage Saga, by Jeffrey Bardwell.

Rotten Magic tells the story of Devin, who is a young apprentice with the Artifacer's Guild. The only problem is, Devin has a secret he can't share with anyone. Only his little sister, Misera, knows he can do "something special" with his hands, and it's not creating machines to help the Guards or anyone else.

Devin is also part of a game played by fellow Guild members, but he happe
Dax Munro
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it

In the year 491, young Devin dreams of becoming a Journeyman, but fate has something-else in store.

Throughout the book, we’re presented with two voices in Devin’s head, viewed as entirely separate entities. These are ‘The Mage’ and ‘The Artificer.’ While one voice appears to encourage magical antics, the other is strongly opposed to such sorcery.

Devin is an intriguing character. He enjoys time alone, no doubt due to childhood bullying and seems to be socially awkward- something I find it easy t
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rotten Magic is a prequel novella to the Artifice Mage Saga from Jeffrey Bardwell. The story follows Devin, a young apprentice to the Artificer’s Guild, who seeks to prove his worth as an artificer by building unique weapons and armour from metal and machinery.

However, Devin has an unusual gift, the ability to do magic. This, for some unknown reason, has been banned in the Iron Empire, and Mage’s are not welcome in the Artificer’s Guild.

Will Devin succeed in passing his evaluation exam?

If it wa
I was on the fence about whether to give this book 2 stars or 3, but in the end its flaws dragged it down for me.

Goodreads is a little confused about where this book fits in the series. I’ve seen it listed as both a prequel and Book 1. Other reviewers have confirmed it’s Book 1, although it’s short—116 pages according to my Kindle—which may have confused people. On to the review!

Rotten Magic tells the story of Devin, a young apprentice artificer in a kingdom where engineering has supplanted mag
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Talk about no walk in the park. This is one exciting, action packed, fast paced, nailbiting, pulse racing, page turning tale that captivates from the start. All the twists and turns, ins and outs, ups and downs, along with a few glitches and bumps make for one enjoyable experience. You get pulled in so deep that everything else ceases to exist. The characters and their personalities are unique with traits that flow along smoothly. You feel what the characters fe
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting story that kept me reading from start to finish. Author Jeffrey Bardwell certainly gave the reader a few characters to root for and some to root against. And, of course, there was the small issue of magic and mage being illegal during the period of this story, which in turn leads to some unpleasant events which I'm going to presume are further explained in the first book in the series. The book certainly takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride of highs and lows, f ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Devin, a young man who is an apprentice, dreams of becoming a journeyman. None of the other apprentices would play with him and everyone believed the lies that Benny, another apprentice and bully, spread about him.
This book just didn’t suck me in. Usually I get really involved with the story and this time all I could muster was some anger on behalf of Devin for the way he was treated. The writing was confusing to me, there was so much more that could have been said or done in my opinion. It fel
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Breaking point - when does the worm finally turn

A good start to a new series. Mages are feared and expelled from society but artificers are treated as the cream. What happens when you have a mix of the two in one young teen? A teen that is trying to gain his credentials. A teen that has been set apart by his difference and the target for a bully. Will the two parts join together?
A really good start to what should become an epic saga of a young man's journey to try and meld the two parts of himse
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the first steampunk story i've read, it was a novella so I read it pretty quickly and I think it was a good introduction into the world of steampunk for me .
I enjoyed it, it was well written and the main character, Devin was intriguing. He was making mechanical inventions to try and become a journeyman .
I look forward to reading more about his adventures in the next book by this author .
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed

The first book in the series. A wonderful telling of the beginning of the Mage Devin. Book contains trust, betrayal and discovery. A struggle to find oneself, leads to disastrous results; especially when you want to be the best and lose yourself in the process.
Angel Haze
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya-fantasy
This was recommended to me by one of my favorite fantasy reviewers. It is an interesting story with a lot of potential. I was hoping for a little more magic and action, but it was a good read overall, if not a little short and a rather abrupt ending.

The author's writing certainly has potential and I'm curious to see where he goes. :)
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-copy, own-it
I read Metal vs Magic Anthology - Last Hope & Warped Goals (which is great by the way) And in those 2 stories, I had my first introduction to Devin & Drusilla. I thought the story and characters were great and it was a cool read. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and everything else from this Author.

I was gifted an ARC in return of an honest review.
Stephanie Bolen
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Not really a book just a beginning of a story

I see this as the childhood beginnings of an epic mage tale. A plot has to work for a story to come to life. This plot was everything up to the inciting incident and a little after. Maybe it could have been the first obstacle and overcome if it hadn't stopped half way.
Frank Geimer
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this novel, it is not a prequel, immensely. The world building is a clash of magic vs machine and Jeffrey does it well. The characters are fleshed out and human as all of us have a little bad in them. I look forward to the next installment of the Artificer Mage to see what happens next.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
It is hard to pin down why this book isn't working for me. I think the YA bullying is dominating the story, rather than the steampunk development of the character's techology, which is what it was supposed to be about.
Rebecca Brown
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked reading this book. It was intriguing. The plot was good.
And the characters were really good.
Jeffrey A. Dewey
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a darker "Ender's Game" styling with magic.
Slow to start but built up towards the end. Unexpected turncoat to destroy his dreams but a bittersweet ending?
David Murray
May 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Steampunk. Should have liked it, didn't couldn't get into it, couldn't finish it.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was great, even though it was quite short being a prequel. Loved it and ready for the rest of the series. Received a free copy and reviewing because I loved it.
Michelle VanDaley
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good start of series. I am hoping for more magic and action in future installments but this was a good start. Excited to see where the author takes the story next
Bill Tillman
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jeff writes great tales, and this is one of them. Devin is a young Artificer hoping to make journeyman soon. BUT things go from bad to worse, or do they? find out for yourself.
Saundra Wright
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Bardwell has a wonderful way of embellishing and expanding on his storyline. In Rotten Magic 3.0 he takes us back in time to the younger years of his protagonist of the series. We get a lovely in depth take on things that were glossed over in the other books. It gives us a new understanding of a character we have become invested in over the previous two books. If this is your first book in the series experience, what better place to start than at the beginning of Devin’s tale, with no pr ...more
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Other books in the series

The Artifice Mage Saga (3 books)
  • Broken Wizards (The Artifice Mage Saga Book 2)
  • Hidden Revolt (The Artifice Mage Saga Book 3)