I really don’t see how I can get into a review of this book without dropping some major spoilers so consider this your warning.
The previous book ends with the death of the entire royal family, minus Prince Gar. The kingdom’s master magician Durm causes their deaths while possessed by a piece of the spirit of the Doranen mage, Morg. Durm is still trapped inside his body, but is unable to force himself back into the driver’s seat – so to speak – and must watch helplessly as Morg wreaks havoc. Fortunately, Prince Gar and Asher have a bit of a break: in the “accident” that kills the royal family, Durm’s body is so severely damaged that Morg’s consciousness is trapped inside Durm’s damaged body. Durm, aware of what is going on around him, begins the battle to will himself to death and insodoing draws Morg’s attention away from the destruction of the kingdom.
In the meantime, Prince Gar is abruptly thrown into the role of King, ruler, and weather-mage for the kingdom. Little does he know that his newly found magical abilities are only a twisted gift from Morg, useable by Gar, but soon to wither and die. Without the ability to control the weather, the wall that protects the kingdom will fall, allowing Morg’s forces outside the wall to pour in and letting the seed of Morg’s consciousness which had crossed over merge once again with the rest of the disembodied sorcerer’s being. Read: everybody dies.
This is when prophecy comes into play. Asher is the Innocent Mage – an Olken who can control not only the magic native to all Olkens, but able to work the flashier Doranen magic as well. Without his help, Gar cannot control the weather and the kingdom will fall. Unfortunately, not every noble is loyal to the royal house and an active dislike of the new king leads one man in particular to aim his sights on the king’s best friend and adviser – Asher.
When Morg finally frees himself from the body of Durm, there is a freshly corrupted magician ready and waiting – though his aid to Morg’s plans has been based of selfish desire to rule and not any corruption by Morg himself.
Asher, meanwhile has to prepare himself to face several things at once:
First, he must learn to wield his newfound magic. Second, he must find a way not to be discovered as an Olken attempting magic is automatically sentenced to death. And Last, he must find a way to help Gar secure the stability of the of the kingdom.
Now, the reason I bashed this book in the last review is this: All of the previous comments let you in on a really great story. What sucks is that the end is so short. All these conflicts come to a head in a battle that lasts a scant few pages, and then get tied up with a neat little bow. It does set the stage for another series down the road (I believe), but after two lengthy books worth of story an ending like the one I read is so underwhelming that I felt like I had totally wasted my time. I wanted to throw the book into the toilet. Honestly. I was that mad.
So…should you read Awakened Mage? Maybe. Maybe not. Some people may not be put off by the ending at all, but it really bothered me. The story was good up until the end. Maybe it’s a good idea to just read a different book by this same author. After all, Karen Miller has proven the ability to spin a good yarn. I just wish it hadn’t been snipped off so arbitrarily.