Zoë Marriott's Reviews > Angel Mage

Angel Mage by Garth Nix
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Read 2 times. Last read July 4, 2020.

A somewhat mixed bag. The derring-do Musketeering aspects and the FEMINISM felt as if they, and the light-hearted friendship and camaraderie of the four MCs, belonged in an entirely different novel than the super dark villain, beastling/monsters, Ash Blood Plague and a Court of the Rogue full of an oppressed underclass of ruthless, disfigured killers. They never fully gelled. It's always a bit of a risky move to make your villain one of your major viewpoint characters, and while Lilliath was satisfyingly wicked and Machiavellian her sections were so grim and full of random, gruesome deaths that the 'Oh well, arrested again!' and 'All for one!' sections where the four friends somehow always managed to come out totally unscathed were really jarring.

Rather than one tonally unified and satisfying narrative there was half of one about Agnez, Dorotea, Henri and Simeon and their unlikely friendship and adventures, and half of one about Ystarra, Lilliath and Angelic Magic, with about 20% of behind-the-scenes political/religious/royal scheming stuffed in, until the story was full to bursting but never fully *realised*. It was intriguing to watch the author gleefully mash so many things into new configurations - I was totally there for Rochefort reimagined as a tragic yet dangerous female romantic interest - and perfectly enjoyable to read (although I am convinced that a less celebrated author would probably have had most of that elaborate exposition and world-building cut - I don't mind it because world-building is my jam) but never actually coherent. The ending, especially, was strangely unsatisfying. I wanted to wail 'But you haven't explored any of the INTERESTING implications yet!!!'

I always really enjoy Nix's work, auto-buy every new title, and count him as one of the big influences on my own work - but this was just not in the same league as the Old Kingdom books.

(P.S. TWO MASSIVE PEEVES: A) Lilliath's age is not nearly as much of an explanation for her being utterly sociopathic as I think the author believes and B) I know Nix generally doesn't give romantic pairings much traction in his work, but would it have been too much to ask for one little lesbian kiss in this? Just ONE? *Sigh*)
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July 4, 2020 – Shelved
July 4, 2020 – Finished Reading

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