Format: E-Book, 480 pages
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Genre: Fiction \ Fantasy \ Epic
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.
The Tethered Mage is the first novel in a spellbinding new fantasy series.
The Tethered Mage, by author Melissa Caruso, is the first installment in the authors Swords and Fire Trilogy. The Tethered Mage caught my attention with it's beautiful world building; which reminded me so much of Venice, Italy. The story is deep in court intrigue & magic, has a twisty story plot with plenty of action, and a friendship that grows out of two very different engaging characters in Lady Amalia Cornaro and Zaira, the mage with the ability to wield fire. The Serene Empire of Raverra is a place that has seen 50 years of peace after a 3 year war with the neighboring Witch Lords of Vaskander.
One of the reasons the peace has lasted so long are magical users called falcons. Falcons aka mages, are those who are born with mage marks in their eyes. Some of these mages have unimaginable powers of pure destruction. Children who show any signs of being mage marked are quickly gobbled up by the ruling government and sent to a place called the Mews to learn to control their powers. All of the falcons are assigned a person who is called a Falconer. Falconers exist to control magic and those who use magic. With a jess, the magic is bound, with a word from a Falconer, the magic is unleashed.
Lady Amalia is the daughter and heir of one of the most powerful people in all of Raverra-La Contessa Lissandra Cornaro. She is not only bright, but bold as well. As she is returning home with a copy of a much sought after book, she runs into a waif of a girl being harassed by several men. After the waif unleashes her fire magic that nearly burns down the city and everyone with it, Amalia is encouraged by Lieutenant Marcello Verdi to put a magic halting artifact called a jess on the girls wrist thus restraining the girls powers. Marcello may have not only broken the law, but given the powerful Court of Nines a weapon of mass destruction.
One could definitely say that things do not get off to a good start between the waif girl named Zaira and Amalia. Why should they? Amalia is not only her mothers heir, but has also been to university. She has seen places like Arden and is comfortable being among powerful people. She is also a creative inventor which we see bits and pieces throughout the story. Meanwhile, Zaira's life has been one challenge after another while living on the streets, and hiding her powers. In this world, Zaira has no rights of her own now that she has been discovered as a fire mage. Oh sure, they claim the mages will be treated like kings and queens, but what they don't tell you goes a long way in understanding Falcon/Falconer relationship.
Zaira and Amalia are now forever linked together whether they like it or not. In the end, it takes a whole lot of twists, and turns, and actions to bring the two women together. This relationship also includes Marcello since he finds that he is enamored with Amalia, as well as his sister who is a bright spot in this story. The unlikely relationship between Amalia and Zaira is key to this story, but the underlying issue is where Amalia's relationship with her own mother ends up. Nobody can stand in the same room with La Contessa without being a bit intimidated, but Amalia more than holds her own when the chips are on the table.
I will definitely be waiting for the sequel called The Defiant Heir (April 19, 2018).