Title: The Blood Mage (Changing Tides #2)
Author: Aimee Davis
Monster. Murderer. Oathbreaker.
Three years after the events leading to the deaths of her friend and lover, twenty-one-year-old Alena Kozlov is still trying to outrun her past. But the darkness within her is not something she can simply leave behind.
The nightmares plaguing her become reality when a familiar face seeks her out in her isolated desert home bearing news that awakens all she’s tried to keep locked inside. There’s a promise she made long ago she’s determined to keep, even if it means she will have to tear what remains of herself, and her world, apart.
To save her friends, she may have to become the monster once more. But fear is not for the damned.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: First off, a disclaimer – I received this ARC right from the author in exchange for an honest review. No money exchanged hands, only this wonderful book that I’m about to dissect for your reading pleasure. Now onto the review:
Holy crap this book was good. That’s all I can think of to start it off. No, actually, I know the perfect thing to start this off with – the cover. I am so in love with this cover that I actually want to marry it (and the girl on the cover, but that’s a whole other thing). I mean, look at it!
Okay, now we’ve got that out of the way, we can get to the actual story,
This book picks up three years after the events of ‘The Wheel Mages’ and when we meet Alena again, she’s hiding out in the middle of nowhere like a hermit, trying to leave behind all that she did at the end of the previous book. However, she gets thrown back into the world of the Sanctum, when she discovers that something’s happened to her beloved Genevieve. That’s when she meets the charming and disarming Lukas.
Okay, so Lukas? Actual angel. He’s an air mage who’s become Genevieve’s new mentor before the events of the book happens, and I’m having an internal battle whether or not I prefer Lukas over Nikolai….. Lukas is so laid-back most of the time, and he lets most of Alena’s bite just wash right over him, but he isn’t afraid to step up and be serious when he needs to be.
Casually he wormed between them and draped an arm around Celine’s shoulders. He was about to replicate the movement with Odeth when she stopped him. “Try it, and I will remove it from your body.” He chuckled but kept his hand tight at his side.
Alena on the other hand… Yeah, I’m generally not a fan of the whole tortured soul who blames herself and lashes out at everyone for it. Somehow Alena came back around though, and I warmed to her again. She’s prickly on the outside, but she does have a soft centre under all those layers of titanium.
Then we get the power couple of the whole book – Celine and Odeth. If you remember the first book, Celine was one of Allard and Henri’s pet mages, but in this book she really comes into her own. Right as the book opens, we meet Celine again, along with her Amazon-like warrior lover Odeth, and they’re wonderful.
“Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite. Well, not outside the bedroom anyway.”
Celine stretched onto her toes and kissed the other woman lightly on her cheek. “You’ll get used to it.”
Their care for one another seemed so easy, so uncomplicated. It was comforting to see them, to know there was something pure and good still left in such an unforgiving world.
They’re a same-sex couple, that don’t get written into unnecessary relationship drama or into an untimely death, and it’s nice to have a same-sex couple like ‘Odine’ in a fantasy series such as this. You don’t see that often.
I am just so in love with Aimee Davis’ writing – she describes this world so beautifully, and it feels like you’re coming home, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like you’ve read the same thing a million times before. It doesn’t read as contrived in any way, or unoriginal, and I feel so happy to have gotten an ARC of this book.
One thing I was surprisingly miffed to have though, was a lack of Felipe. I actually missed him. Imagine that.
Basically, if high fantasy is your thing, and you like well-written LGBT characters, and engaging characters (because who doesn’t like that?), then you should get into this series.
If you want to read more, I reviewed the first book in this series – The Wheel Mages – and I also got to interview Aimee herself – awesome, right? She’s a very cool person, and I’ll link you to her various pages at the end of this.
The Blood Mage is released on July 18th, so add it to your calendars because this is a must-read.
Now for some quotes to whet your appetite for this wonderful piece of literature:
“You are more than darkness, more than rage and regret. You are also light. You are also hope.”
“I don’t want you to be Nikolai,” I said. “I want you to be you. I want your irritating charm and your sarcasm and your bad jokes. I want you, Lukas.”
“Yes, Alena, you were a gutter rat, and Felipe was a highborn bastard, but magic is the great equaliser.”
“You will love many people in your life, my sprite, but there will never be a bond like the one you and I share,” Nikolai had once said to me.
Meet The Author: