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The Awakened Mage: Kingmaker Kingbreaker Book Two    by Karen Miller order for
Awakened Mage
by Karen Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Orbit, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Awakened Mage follows The Innocent Mage as the second in the Kingmaker Kingbreaker fantasy duo set in the Kingdom of Lur, long magically sealed off from the rest of the world to guard against an ancient evil. The fair-haired Doranen (who originally came over the mountains) rule Lur, prohibiting the native Olken from using magic of any form, even their own subtle earth magic.

In the first book, fisherman's son Asher sought his fortune in the capital, unaware of his destiny as the Olken's long-awaited Innocent Mage. Manipulations of the Olken Circle - and in particular of Jervale's Heir, bookseller Dathne - led to magically crippled Prince Gar employing Asher first in his stables and then as an assistant to the prince's role of Olken Administrator. The Innocent Mage ended on a cliffhanger as evil Morg gained access to the kingdom and attacked the royal family in a fashion that appeared to be a tragic accident.

As The Awakened Mage opens, it's discovered that the royal family are all dead except for Prince Gar - who's found to have miraculously come into the magic previously absent from his life. What the reader knows - but Gar does not - is that this magic is only temporary, part of Morg's foul plot to destroy Barl's Wall and open the kingdom to the monsters beyond it. Gar takes on the royal duties of WeatherWorker, but insists on Asher's help, despite the fact that Olken involvement is forbidden. Then, as his magic fades and he discovers that Asher has his own magic, Gar forces his friend - against his strong protests - to take on the debilitating role of WeatherWorker.

Of course, it's clear that this won't end well for Asher - and it doesn't. All is discovered. Gar is forced to give up the throne and betray his friend, who's arrested, villified, tortured and sentenced to a terrible death. But, though he seems to have been deserted by all, Asher is not without supporters and the Olken Circle have a desperate plan that they hope will permit Asher to realize his destiny - though sadly 'Not even the Innocent Mage could save everyone.' In The Awakened Mage, Karen Miller gives us an absorbing and exciting conclusion to her unusual Kingmaker Kingbreaker duo.

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