Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The Web of Arcana: Book One
A young magic user who wants desperately to live. A jaded recluse who has forgotten what living means. They’re each other’s only chance.
Toby’s wild magic is killing him. The mage guilds have given up on him, and it’s only a matter of time before he dies in a spectacular, catastrophic bang. His only hope is an exiled wizard who lives in seclusion—and is rumored to have lost his mind.
The years alone on his hilltop estate have not been good for Darius Valstad. After the magical accident that disfigured him and nearly drowned Pittsburgh, he drifts through his days, a wraith trapped in memories and depression. Until a stricken young man collapses on his driveway, one who claims Darius is his last chance. For the first time in fifteen years, Darius must make a choice—leave this wild mage to his fate or take him in and try to teach him, which may kill them both. The old Darius, brash and commanding, wouldn’t have hesitated. Darius the exile isn’t sure he can find the energy to try.
I am always beyond thrilled to see Angel Martinez come out with a new novel, let alone a new series and The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) represents both. My biggest complaint? That the page count reads 170 pages and not 670 which is what I feel these terrific characters, plot, and relationship dynamics and history is due.
That Angel Martinez! Her mind is a wondrous and twisty thing.
This is a story that builds upon itself, like a simple melody into a wild crescendo. Told from Toby and Darius’ perspectives, with each layer of world building, of magic, of relationship, the author adds to her story and men making the tale sing stronger and wilder. Especially during the search for Toby’s “gift”, the magic he should be able to channel and the paths it takes both of them on. It’s a journey of revelation for the reader, one of redemption and forgiveness/ It more deeply connects us to them both and gets us ready, ok not really, for the wildest climax of them all. How all the imaginative, incredible elements that Martinez built into that white knuckle, suspense filled, heart pounding fierce ride! And am I giving them away? Nope not me. Buy the book, read it for yourself.
I found the relationship between Darius and Toby very touching and tender. It’s not just Toby that needs saving here but Darius too. Toby from immediate death at the hands of the Guild and Darius from a deep depression and years of neglect. The interaction between the two men, despite the age difference, is extremely enjoyable, it’s one’s yin to the other’s yang. The author making us feel the need each has for the other, not just physical but mental and emotional. One bringing the other alive as he hasn’t been in years while the other is ensuring the other stays alive so he can become the best man he can be, including a whole mage.
There are also three other mages, some former students of Darius’ or mages at the Guild with him that we meet. All are of huge importance to this couple and the series. I loved all three and can’t wait to see where this series takes them.
In fact, I can’t wait for the next installment. I want it now. Can that be arranged?
I highly recommend The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) by Angel Martinez. It’s highly imaginative, with great characters, an absorbing plot, and an ending that will have you flipping the pages in your desperate need to know what’s happening next! I just love it. You will too. I really need that next story.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design. I like this design. I think Tiferet Design is so strong in it’s cover art but it’s hard to tell whether that’s a white streak in his hair (yes) or pat of the magic happening around him.
ebook, 194 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Series The Web of Arcana #1