In the peace following the Great Mage Hunt, the king’s long-time mistress is revealed as a sorceress. Locked away for the safety of the kingdom, bounties are placed upon the heads of the seven children she birthed. Mage hunters have scoured the kingdom for four years, searching for the seven scattered mage-born bastards.
After growing up in an orphanage, Reshi discovers his parentage and learns to hide his magic, living peacefully in a remote village with an unusual friend. But when an alluring mage hunter comes to town, his secret is revealed, forcing Reshi to reach out to his brothers and sisters for help. A family reunion might be Reshi’s only hope for survival–or it might become a spell-slinging battle royale.
Who can Reshi rely on when his own family turns against him?
This book – YOU GUYS, THIS BOOK. I can’t even. I started reading this during a readathon during the part of the day where I usually fall into a reading slump, and this book carried me through and had me staying up until midnight reading, then waking up at 6 a.m. the next morning because getting back to this world was more important than getting sufficient sleep. I also squeeled like an anime schoolgirl upon finishing this book and literally flung it at my BFF demanding she read it RIGHT THE HECK NOW so we can fangirl about it together.
I am primarily a romance reader, and sci-fi/fantasy is sort of my secondary genre these days (but I used to read a LOT more fantasy when I was younger…) Sorcerous Rivalry is an *amazing* high fantasy/epic fantasy with a strong romantic subplot going on, and is basically a perfect blend of my two favorite genres. I love a good epic fantasy with a strong romantic subplot. ❤
I ADORE Reshi. I pictured him as being very similar to that of Cat Noir in the show Miraculous, only with darker hair and a sexier vibe. Me-ow. I love how he is so casually bi, and nobody bats an eye at that. HOORAY for not-a-big-deal-bisexuality!! And then Kestral is this mysterious stranger who appears and is sexy and intriguing (and OK, yes, I was sort of picturing Viggo as Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Ring while reading Kestral’s character, not gonna lie). The forced proximity and antagonistic elements of their relationship are basically my catnip, and the way they go on reminded me a lot of Wesley in The Princess Bridetalking about his relationship with the Dread Pirate Roberts (“Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”) I just realized how many of my favorite movies/fandoms this books stirred little eddies of while reading it, and maybe that’s a part of why I loved it so hard.
The world-building in this book is amazing, and Kayleigh Nicol does a fantastic job of revealing this complex world in a way that isn’t a giant info dump (a problem many epic fantasies seem to have) but instead the information unfolds in a very organic way. There’s a trail of informational breadcrumbs that lure the reader deeper and deeper into the world and the story.
Sorcerous Rivalry is the first book in The Mage-Born Chronicles, which appears to be a duology. I can’t wait to read the second half, Mistress Mage, but I am wisely waiting until the weekend to start it because I know I’m going to be utterly unable to put it down. 🙂