Mages, Haldur and Vyr...Oh My!

Blood for Magic - Aundrea Singer
A Hearts On Fire Review

3.75 Hearts--Mages, Haldur and Vyr...Oh My!

Aundrea Singer's "Blood For Magic" is a high fantasy, action packed tale that reads like it was written by a gamer. There is so much magic, blood and violence in this novel. It wasn't necessarily dark but it got brutal in some sections.

Tarquin is the Mage of the Realm in a fantasy land called Kelor. He's only twenty and is the top mage due to his mother's death. Mages have to sacrifice their blood as payment to wield their magic. Poor Tarquin isn't a fan of having to cut himself over and over again, but it was what he has to do to in order to protect his country and city. While on the hunt for a ravaging beast that has been attacking a nearby town, he and his cousin Ainya are attacked be the most feared beast called a haldur. And they are saved by a mute solider of origins unknown who Tarquin and his cousin nicknamed Five. Tarquin is also son of the current queen by marriage so his royal ties run deep. He has a sick brother he tries to save, while preparing for attacks and falling in love with Five.

This high fantasy story drops the reader directly into the action from the first chapter. I should warn if blood and violence isn't your thing, you might not enjoy as much. I thought the world of Kelor was cool! From the matriarchal society (shout out for the non-specific gender roles!) to the different species (*coughs*dragons*coughs*) to the way magic is practiced (mage magic is cool minus the sharp objects things) I was enthralled. And it takes skill to emote for a character who can't speak in a book. Five was my fave character...even if most of the book the mystery of what type of species Five was loomed in the background.

The romance takes a backseat to the action, with the way of the pacing, it was more insta-lovey. I tend to let that slide when lives are on the line and the world could possibly end as the main characters know it. But a little more tender times between the men and less talking about Tarquin's thoughts on things that already happened wouldn't have been bad.

You know when a story is solid but it just needs some tightening up in a few areas? Maybe a re-edit? The parts where a lull slowed the fast pace the story started with, like fighting and action, then we get Tarquin going into detail of mage history and I feel some parts could have been edited out.

Another thing that I will lump into my gripe on why this story isn't a full 4 hearts or better: too many names, species and information about each faction to keep track of. If there was ever a book that could've benefited from a glossary to help the reader know who is who and what is what. I won't complain about the different character names but when paired with all the magical beings, it was a lot. The author seemed to know what was going on, but some parts didn't relay the information quick enough to get the full extent of what was happening. And the odd names and species were starting to meld in a couple of places.

The epilogue was good to certain point and then it dragged a little. Same with the climax of the story, it got bogged down by extra words and not enough explanations. It ended in a weird spot for me. But hooray for the HEA and solving the mystery of Five.

(I wonder if there might be a sequel that could jump off from this. I think it could. There is so much more to this world the author created.)

Overall, the imagination was there, the key elements that I as a high fantasy lover enjoy were there. Just some tightening up, more romance times (sex fiends this book won't be for you either - it's barely a blip and more about the feels) and a glossary could have made this a stellar read for me.

Recommended for high fantasy lovers who could possibly be gamers too! ;)