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Battleborn Mage #1

Reign of Shadows

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A suicidal mission. A cataclysmic power. A darkness that threatens to consume them all.

Killien is hell-bent on accompanying the Battlemages beyond the Black Wall to satisfy the demands of a battle-weary king, spite the council who thwarts him, and redeem himself from his dark past.

That alone promises to be a perilous mission, one that has killed hundreds of men before him.

But when a Seer predicts the birth of a child that will unite the world or destroy it, and assassins come for Killien and his family, he must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means giving into the monster he is feared to be.

Kindle Edition

First published May 31, 2022

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About the author

Angel Haze

12 books155 followers
Angel lives with her two amazing, half-gremlin children in a small Canadian town far from the borders of Middle Earth. She is deadly with a throwing ax, has an arsenal of dwarven jokes, and a legion of signed books she obsessively hoards with Gollum-like tenacity. She loves escaping to different fantasy worlds and finding new fantasy gems from the wonderfully amazing readers of the Indie Fantasy Addicts Facebook group. There she drinks with assassins, mages, and dwarves in shady taverns and revels in their crazy, amazing journeys to far off lands. She lives for adventure, whether it’s losing herself to phenomenal fantasy books, zip lining across jungles, snorkeling in underwater caverns, pole dancing, or traveling the world. She believes that life should be lived to the fullest and encourages others to follow their dreams and passions so they can see just what they are capable of.

Unleash the Adventure at http://www.angelhaze.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for Laura.
1,074 reviews23 followers
June 6, 2022
A gritty and dark epic fantasy tale of the best kind!

While Blood of Vengeance showed us how a slave - collared, beaten, chained like a dog and forced to kill for entertainment - was turned into a seemingly bloodthirsty Beast, by a ruthless master, Reign of Shadows gives us a man hell-bent on proving to everyone, and most of all himself, that he's not a monster.

Now free of the arena, Killien is determined to prove his worth and joins his stepfather Vaughn and the Battlemages beyond the Black Wall to battle shadowspawn. A dangerous mission that might allow him to redeem himself from his dark past. But neither the greatest or most perilous one either.
Because this time around, his family needs him. And helping those he loves might not be possible for Killien, unless he'd once again turn into the feared bloodthirsty beast he once was.

Fast paced and full of edge of the seat action, this novel is jampacked with totally awesome fighting scenes and delightfully creepy creatures. The tale is compelling and the characters fabulous - of different root for/love to hate kind. They practically leap from the page.

Blood, death, magic and steel, a badass MC to absolutely root for and a gripping fast-paced tale that is guaranteed to make you feel. Angel Haze delivers on all counts. And I want more!

The only thing I'll grumble about is the fact I messed up the cooking, because I simply couldn't stop reading. So I suggest you make sure your dinner is all done, or pizza already ordered when picking this book up.
Profile Image for Lana.
2,255 reviews44 followers
May 27, 2022
This is a gritty and dark epic fantasy novel full of magic and sword and sorcery battle scenes which kept me on tenterhooks right through the book, it is not for the faint hearted. Killian has a past he is not proud of, even though the deeds he committed he was forced into by the hateful Prince who had enslaved him from the tender age of twelve. However Killien had escaped and was now hellbent on proving he was worthy both to himself, to the mage's council and most especially to his family. That is why he insisted he'd join his stepfather Vaughn and Talia the battlemages, to battle shadowspawn beyond the Black Wall. However, the Forest of Shadows had a magic of its own and even a hardened killer like Killien was little prepared for the deaths they faced during their battle. The rift needed to be closed but the power emanating through it was too much for them. Meantime a seer predicts the birth of a child who would either unite or destroy their world and his mother Alexis was pregnant with this child of immense magical powers. The babe was killing Alexis, draining her of her energy and rumours spread that she carried a demon, so assassins were sent to kill his family. Killien would do anything to defend his mother and sister Ciara, so when these were abducted he followed and knew that if saving them meant he would once again turn into the monster he vowed he would never again become so be it! Prince Burne is nasty as is his shapeshifting sorcerer Hearst, who acts as his spy and hates Killien. I loved Garrock the dwarf and his sense of humour and enjoyed the adventures in the land of the Elves and the mythical realm. I really look forward to book 2 of this amazingly intriguing series!
Profile Image for Ross Thompson.
288 reviews7 followers
August 2, 2022

Well that was one hell of a ride. Having read the prequel novellas and Blood of Vengeance I had expected this to be a lot more focused on Killien’s post-gladiatorial career and solely beyond the wall at the forest of shadow.
I was not expecting this smorgasbord of different fantasy genres in one thrilling book.
We have different parts of the story taking on so many different styles, from epic journeying to down and nasty grim dark to … mystical elfy stuff. And that’s not to suggest this book doesn’t know what it wants to be, at all times it feels like one excellent story.
There are a great many twists and turns and 180s during the book and it really kept me guessing. A joy and I can’t wait for more.
Profile Image for Rachel Rener.
Author 14 books293 followers
July 17, 2022
It’s so crazy to me that someone who's so nice and kind and sweet could write something so dark and gritty and insanely intense!!! That’s not to say REIGN OF SHADOWS doesn’t have its light, humorous, and heart-warming moments. It does. Which is all the more reason to love this multi-faceted tale.

Killien, who was plucked from the streets and forced to be an enslaved gladiator in the prequel, Battleborn Mage, is back and ready to rumble in a rift that’s teeming with some pretty f****** terrifying monsters. Like, scary enough that I had to stop reading and return the next morning when the sun was up!

And if a seething, overwrought chasm of terror isn’t scary enough, Killien returns home bloody and bruised to find his mother growing weaker by the second with a baby that looks to be the spawn of a demon. This is where I was really sucked in, because I am a SUCKER for powerful children and seers’ prophesies. I am also a sucker for magic and spellcasting and nonstop action, which this book had in spades.

I love witty/filthy banter and laughed out loud many a time.

Also, “Dick’s Halfway Inn” had me in stitches and “Renrock” brought a tear to my eye.

Thank you, Angel Haze, for writing such a thrilling book! I cannot wait to see where Killien’s story goes from here!
Profile Image for Gayreth Walden.
411 reviews9 followers
May 31, 2022
"Wow"! An amazingly well written novel!

Killien, my favorite character created by the author, and comrades dedicate themselves to closing the rift in the Forest of Shadows. Can they stop the horrific creatures coming through? However, the rift is not the only dangerous situation that the group will contend with! ( It just gets better and better)... I like the way the author shows us the reason the decisions each person makes for this dangerous journey, be it redemption, gold or just plain adventure! The battle scenes are amazing. The action is heart pounding, edge of your seat reading. The characters will win your heart or make you cringe. And the rift creatures are truly scary! This book is "Unputdownable" from beginning to end. Dark and gritty and I loved it! So, if you need some excitement in your life right now, then this book is for you! Thank you Angel Haze for an exciting and amazing read!!!
204 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2022
WOW !! You are in for a TREAT !!
Battleborn Mage is the perfect title
for this series.
Make sure you weekend is clear,
your supply of creature comforts
is organised and your phone is OFF !!
You won't want to be interrupted.
Enjoy !!

Phyllis S.
Profile Image for Viking Jam.
1,110 reviews16 followers
July 12, 2022
Rating: 1.3/5


Review: This was all over the place. Barely cogent progression. One instance your following along with the MC’s, fighting this and that, and then you’re on a fairy Island with magical floaty things with purple hair taking a bad acid trip.

There are some HUGE gaps in the story line where Killen is imprisoned for six years and made to fight in a gladiatorial arena. He is now, 20 yo? So…..how is it that his mom, brother, sister and step dad know nothing about this and ask nothing about where he was for six fuking years?

His nemesis is a smug/cruel, fat prince whom has the hotties for his named pet, KILLER (lol) and everyone runs in terror because, well….he’s Killer, don’t you know?

The only character worth a shjt is Step Dad and his gurl side-kick. The rest are made for emotional pandemonium and barely stir the imagination. Vengeance, anger and behaving irrationally does not a character with depth, make. I will be skipping this Netgalley reject series in the future.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Christine Marie.
346 reviews17 followers
June 2, 2022
Having been following Angels writing progress for the last four year I was excited to dive into this novel. Her writing is dark but not DARKKK that I fell in love with her two novellas.

This story is three(ish) years post Blood of Vengeance. Following Killien and his family after being reunited. He’s hunted by his past and time under the enslavement of Prince Brune.

This novel built the world so flawlessly, from the trek to the Black Wall to the “other realm” of Elves. It’s fast paced without the lull of very long days on travel.
I love the complexity that makes Killien who he is. Bogged down by his past out to prove he is not what Prince Brune made him into he cannot help continue to fight for control of his own destiny.

I highly recommend this novel if you like anything by Andy Peloquin for his vast darkness side of characters with the vast world building of JRR Tolkien.
Profile Image for Alyssia Cooke.
1,072 reviews34 followers
June 3, 2022
Reign of Shadows is a gritty fantasy tale that took me in unexpected directions and ended up being a very different book to the one I thought I was reading. The opening 20% was a very slow burn leading into the excursion into a dangerous forest with a ragtag band of ruffians and outcasts beside the Battlemages. Yet it quickly opens up into a far broader and expansive plot, with a cast of interesting characters within it.

What begins as a quest to close a Rift becomes a far more personal journey for Killien and his father as they return to find his mother and wife growing ever weaker with the child she's carrying. No local healer can help, yet the symptoms lead others to conclude that the baby is demon spawn or a possession of some sorts. The truth may be more dangerous still and have even more cataclysmic consequences, if they can somehow keep mother and baby alive.

The cast of characters is varied and idiosyncratic, each having their own personalities and coming to life, even those whose page time is cut unfortunately short. I liked Killian in particular as a character because he had such a strong background, one filled with trouble, violence and trauma that reverberates into his present and his future. As the characters are thrown into one crisis after another, you get a real sense of who they are which allows them to leap off the page at you.

My only niggle is that I felt there could have been more world building; the descriptions of the places we see are fantastically done; the dark forest and wild, mutated creatures for instance come to life around you. But you don't get a lot of a sense of what's going on outside the direct character perspectives. That may be deliberate, but I'd have loved to get more of a sense of the wider world with the Battlemage training and politics, as well as the court outside of it. There are frequent mentions that a character doing something could lead to war, but without understanding what's going on behind the scenes, it's difficult to really understand why.

I'm certainly interested to see where this series goes next and hope to see a little more of the world building alongside the excellent characters.
June 9, 2022
Grim Dark at its best!

I was never much into grim/grim dark fantasy, but that obviously is because I had not read authors who knew how to write a great story in this particular subgenre. Angel Haze is one of those authors! Killien is the main character, and has many issues he deals with throughout the entire story, the biggest being his past and all the killing he was forced to as a gladiator in the Prince's arena. He has taught himself how to use his magical abilities from an early age, using his abilities to barely live on the streets, stealing, being part of a gang, eventually ending up in the aforementioned Arena. He escaped that life and has now been trained as a Battlemage. This is where the story begins: a Rift has opened allowing monsters to enter into the Forrest; mages and soldiers have been sent into the Forrest to find the Rift and close it if possible. Unfortunately many have died, the Rift still remains open, monsters keep coming out. Now Killien, his stepfather and others are making their way into the Forrest to find the location of the Rift. Problems, deception, monsters and family issues will keep you at the edge of your seat. Do they succeed? Do they all make it back alive? What could possibly go wrong? Be warned - grim dark is not for the fainthearted or those with 'bad language' issues. Angel Haze does an amazing job of word smithing an incredible story of darkness, the trials that beat up on the those trying to close the Rift, but she also weaves in family values, honor and self worth. So if you love the grim/grim dark style, this story, this author, is for you! Five Stars!!!
860 reviews38 followers
June 2, 2022
This is epic fantasy at it's finest! A real page turner as the characters are laid out bare, one step at a time. So masterfully put together, I honestly felt as though I was watching a puzzle being completed, each piece slipping into it's notch perfectly, easily and smoothly, revealing the picture the puzzle. There are a few pieces still missing and I'm excited to see it in it's entirety once all the pieces are placed and fitted. I loved the gentle build up in the beginning, it didn't feel rushed and the characters are raw and real. Especially Killien, his past has left such a scar on him, he despises himself for his deeds, even though he was forced into it. I really enjoy characters that make me gnash my teeth, which is exactly what Hearst did to me, I loved hating him! The adventures, if I can call them that, are scary as hell! Considering the creatures coming through the rift they are trying to close, it may as well be!There's action galore, the fight scenes so compelling, I wasn't sure who would survive. But the danger is not only in the Forest of Shadows, lurking and waiting to recapture Killien is Prince Burne, who is a vile person with an agenda of his own, none of it good. Kidnapping and escape never looked this daunting, you'll be holding your breath Add to this exciting mix Killien's mother, pregnant with a powerful child that everyone wants to get their hands on, a prophecy, Elves and you have the full package to keep you entertained, captivated and riveted.
Profile Image for The Book Dragon's Hoard by A.V..
511 reviews15 followers
September 18, 2023
Argh! Sometimes a book can be so frustrating! I loved the idea of the battlemages and the rift. Fighting shadowspawn was so intense and immensely awesome. Killian is a fantastic character. His dark past and everything he's been through is so much baggage! But he's the sweetest kid. I liked how that was all wrapped up into a really believable character and I was totally rooting for him to succeed. The second storyline about the mother and the unborn baby sister was super interesting too and could have been utterly amazing.

Unfortunately, the author couldn't seem to decide whether this needed to be a book from a single point of view or multiple points of view. It starts out exclusive to Killian, but then unexpectedly shifts to his sister Ciara. There was no preamble or any preparation to that POV shift, which meant I was just thrown into it and never really got to know Ciara. I have no idea what her real wants and aspirations are apart from her as her mother's carer. She failed to become a person for me. She's just an extension of the issues with the baby sister.

There were other random shifts in point of view sprinkled throughout the second half of the book and none of those did anything for me.

I really wanted to love this book. There is so much going for it. But unfortunately, it hasn't reached its potential. It could be absolutely mindblowing.
Profile Image for Ulana Dabbs.
Author 6 books20 followers
June 11, 2022
Reign of Shadows by Angel Haze was a blast from start to finish! It's an action-packed fantasy adventure full of monsters, magic, and flawed heroes, who are desperately trying to save the world from a terrible calamity known as the rift. In the first part of the book, we follow the main protagonist, Killien, into the Forest of Shadows, where he and his companions must fight a deadly horde of shadowspawn. It's during this journey we're introduced to the band of mercenaries recruited to help. They're seasoned fighters with sharp tongues and even sharper blades. The only thing missing for me was a strong mercenary girl in their midst to keep them in check. Many of the exchanges between the men made me laugh out loud. How could I not with the nuggets like this:
'How are you going to see that shadowspawn coming with that eye swollen shut?'
'Keep talking and you're going to be asking yourself the same question.'
I was delighted to meet Ciara, Killen's sister, later in the story. She is brave and very protective of her family. She faced her many struggles head-on and never faltered.
The ending of the book didn't disappoint. Fast-paced and fraught with tension, it kept me turning pages.
Profile Image for Patti.
1,505 reviews13 followers
June 8, 2022
At first I thought this would be a straightforward evil is coming and the heroes gather to thwart it tale. Silly me! Gratefully, there is layer upon layer more! Where do I start?
Okay, favorite characters? I just can’t pick. All of them are needed but let highlight a few.
Vaughn, a husband, Dad, battlemage, mentor, loyal friend . Ms Haze shows us every facet of this character complete with all the emotional highs and lows.
Killian, a son, a brother, a tortured prisoner, a killer, a battlemage, this character will go dark to protect those he loves.
Talia, battlemage, loyal comrade in arms, capable of great patience and empathy, will give her last drop of blood for a cause she deems worthy. My kind of role model.
These plus more intertwine through this tale to make my breath stop while they face danger from multiple sources and directions. There is hope, but even that they are never sure if it will be for good or bad.
All the gritty and blood pumping action of you ever want plus more that you never realized you wanted/needed as well. To summarize….just read this book..it is a necessary read….IMO.
Profile Image for Catrin Russell.
Author 15 books85 followers
July 15, 2022
Reign of Shadows is a fast-paced, action-packed, thrilling ride from start to finish!

Jammed with gory battles, flashy spell-casting, and monstrous creatures, this book offers entertainment no matter what page you're on. First, Killien and his stepfather Vaughn are sent out on a dangerous mission into the Dark Forest, not knowing if or when they will return. But then, a terrible prophecy about Vaughn's unborn daughter comes to light, and their worlds change forever.

I absolutely love the characters in this book, how they are all so different from each other, and each serves a role in the team as much as in the family unit. The relationship between Killien and his stepfather is fantastic, and you can practically FEEL the love between them. And you can't help but root for Killien after everything he's been through!! He's a stellar character.

But then, we also have side characters, like Garrock, who offers some much-needed comic relief in all the mess that is the Dark Forest and beyond. This is a high-stakes yet well-balanced story, and it refuses to let up. So for anyone looking for some brilliant Epic Fantasy, look no further! Give Reign of Shadows a go!
June 29, 2022
# Epic Fantasy
My favourite character is Vaughn, even though Killien is the main character. Vaughn is quite laid back but is very knowledgeable and loyal to his wife whilst being stepfather the Killien who is sometimes quite rash. A rag tag group is formed to try and find, then close a rift over the Black wall. Despite losing a number of their band and the defection of the shapeshifter they manage to survive but fail in their quest. Whilst travelling home the wall is attacked by monsters from the rift and an army led by Rave. On returning home Vaughn's wife gives birth to a special daughter who emits powers that can be fatal, many die as she is born, from nearby right to the Black wall and towards the rift.
I liked this 1st book, it was a great introduction what should be a fantastic series, one of my best reads in quite a while. The interaction between stepfather and stepson was quite interesting and could be one of the ways forward though the addition of a baby sister may dominate future books, would like to know more of the peoples history so will find associated books
592 reviews11 followers
July 25, 2022
This is a really enjoyable dark epic fantasy story. It didn’t go the way I expected from the blurb as I was thinking the majority of the story would be the quest into the Forest of Shadows to find the rift, but there’s a lot more going on than that. The beasts in the forest are terrifying and I liked the descriptions of them. After they left the forest, I was less interested in the story for a while until they saw the Seer and had to try to save Alexis and the baby. I particularly liked the island of the elves which was wacky and kind of trippy. And the last 20% or so was gripping and I finished it really fast. There are many layers to this story that start to align later in the book and I’m looking forward to the next book because I want to see how the child will grow up and how the rift will be closed. I really liked the side characters, especially Vaughn, Garrock, and Ciara. Killien is a complex main character with a traumatic past. I didn’t love him, but I still rooted for him to succeed. Overall this is a really good book and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Vicki DeVico.
152 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2022
OMG...I knew Angel Haze was an amazing person, but on top of that, she's an incredible writer! This book drew me in and took me on a magical journey that has really just begun. Killien, the main character, is a mystery at first...but his story unfolds as the story progresses. He's hated by so many people, but none hate him as much as he hates himself. It's not justified, but you'll have to read about that, yourself. His loyalty to his family is praiseworthy--he will do anything to protect them, including suppressing his own goals. The descriptions of places and creatures that have never been seen allow the reader to visualize the impossible. I loved this book and cannot wait for the next installment. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy epic battles, heartwarming family moments, new worlds and creatures. It's a wild ride!
Profile Image for Bella and her Book Nook.
48 reviews3 followers
October 22, 2022
Reign of Shadows

Overall: ⭐⭐⭐.5
World: ⭐⭐⭐
Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Plot: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Spice: N/A

Rounding up because I think the overall story is great, but I think I had a bit too high hopes going into this after reading the prequels. Too many things ended up not making sense to me, and the magic system is still not properly explained. However, I love the characters, Killien's dad is amazing (as is their relationship), and the action is super cool. I might still continue the series.
Profile Image for Mel.
237 reviews6 followers
June 8, 2022
I was totally blown away by Killien's story

I absolutely loved this book, the world building and characters are out of this world! I love the idea of the shadowspawn and the descriptions of some of them. I also loved the backstory of Killien's time in slavery when he had to fight for his life. There is so much going on in one book but it all goes together beautifully. I especially loved the tongue in cheek humour with some of the place and character names such as Dick's Halfway Inn, Wanka the goblin and Ehnel the elf and his beads!
This is an absolute must read for anyone who loves a heart mix of adventure, wonder, great world building and a dash of humour!
Profile Image for Donna.
513 reviews9 followers
September 20, 2022
Reign of Shadows (Battleborn Mage #1) by Angel Haze. I received through Bookfunnel and am now giving an honest review. Loved it and highly recommend. Definitely want to read more from Angel. In this book Killien is determined to accompany the Battlemages beyond the Black Wall to fight the shadowspawn, a mission that has killed hundreds of men previously. But when a Seer predicts the birth of a child that will unite or destroy the world assassins come for Killian and his family and he must do everything in his power to protect those he loves... even if it means giving in to the monster he is feared to be. As mentioned I highly recommend. This book is available on Amazon
Profile Image for Susan May.
521 reviews10 followers
June 11, 2022
OMG I don’t even know where to start. This is a brilliant piece of fantasy. When I hear the word fantasy this is exactly what comes to mind. Plenty of monsters, action, magic, hero's and villians. This book has it all. I loved the wide variety of characters & the non stop action. Killien is such a strong character who fights evil after living it for so long. His sister Ciara is no push over either since she is also a mage. My absolute favorite part was the exchange with Wanka while getting their collars off. If this isn't in your TBR pile then it should be. An absolute fabulous story.
Profile Image for Nicole Courtney.
258 reviews9 followers
July 18, 2022
This was my first proper delve into adult fantasy. While I read some before, this one was my first strictly from a male protagonist's POV. I really liked Killian, I would probably as even go to say that he is my new favourite book boyfriend. I liked that he was in his mid-twenties and had some experience behind him, he had his own battles to overcome but he was still supportive of his friends. It was a really fun adventure to read.
49 reviews
March 16, 2023
I will start by saying I am not normally a person who typically reads grim/dark fantasy, but I have to say I really enjoyed this one! If you like nightmare-inducing monsters, magic of cosmic proportions, brutal fighting, war, an odd assortment of allies that rally to do the right thing, and family loyalty that hits you in the Feels, you will love this series!! I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book :)
Profile Image for Anya Josephs.
Author 3 books129 followers
June 28, 2022
I just love this series. Reign of Shadows completely lives up to the potential of the first volume, while also expanding the world. The darkness is intense, but it's anf incredibly rewarding read, and it has its moments of hope and connection. Most of all, it has characters you just want to root for, no matter how dark their circumstances.
Profile Image for David A..
Author 3 books17 followers
July 17, 2022
What can I say beside “thank you” (Dwayne Johnson signing)! Got a hankering for some violence? How about some dark humor and clever wordplay? How about magic and swords? Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!
10.5k reviews124 followers
June 3, 2023
An outstanding fantasy story that will keep you reading. Killien needs to do everything in his power to save his family. Even with the danger involved, he will fight. Fast paced, well written with strong characters.
941 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2022
This is terrific! It is very hard to put down. The author has done a wonderful job telling this story
I received this as an ARC for review.
Profile Image for Terry.
155 reviews1 follower
May 7, 2023
Perfect for those who enjoy dark fantasy.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

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