Book Review : Servant Mage

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review : Servant MageServant Mage by Kate Elliott
Published by Tordotcom on January 18th 2022
Pages: 176
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In Kate Elliott's Servant Mage, a lowly fire mage finds herself entangled in an empire-spanning conspiracy on her way to discovering her true power.
They choose their laws to secure their power.
Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.
Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.
But Fellion has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…

Servant Mage is a delightful and fantastical novella that follows a lowly lamplighter named Fellian. In the world of Servant Mage, children with magical abilities are taken from their families, taught basic levels of their innate magical ability, and forced into indentured servitude that will fit their magical gifts. Fellian, born with a fire wraith, has the ability to control fire, and becomes a lamplighter and household servant. But everything changes when a group of people shows up at her place of work and takes her on a journey to save the world.


“There are all manner of demons in the world, Fellian. Some are entirely human.”


I was immediately intrigued by this dystopian magical system in Servant Mage. I think in a lot of fantasy novels, magic is a positive thing, and usually has a good effect on its users and their social standing. But in Servant Mage, the world is based on a corrupt system that teaches its mages to fear their magic as demonic, and to only use basic skills. What’s worse is that these mages live in horrible conditions, with virtually no hope of ever purchasing their freedom. In fact, Fellian is charged days more of servitude if she even wants to bathe herself once a month.


“You’re kept ignorant on purpose so you’ll be content with servitude.”


But thankfully, Fellian is caught up in the Monarchist movement and stolen from her household. I was even more interested in the Monarchist movement, which seeks to save babies born with the souls of the Monarchy from being murdered by the Liberationists. I am sure you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out these Monarchs were actual dragons. I am all about dragons as rulers, and literally cannot get enough of that storyline. So I was pretty darn invested in Fellian and the rest of the Monarch’s movement to rescue this dragon baby and to raise it in secret until it can overthrow the awful Liberationists, who killed and toppled the Monarchs.


“The aether realm exists whatever the August Protector says. It will not go away even if she murders every five-souled baby. Or if every mage like you and me is indentured or killed.”


So basically, not only does this world have a really unique magical system, but it also has dragon royalty and world leaders, political intrigue and insurrection, and a pretty despicable main female villain known as the August Protector. Killing dragon babies makes you enemy #1 in my book. On top of that, I am always a sucker for resistance movements, and one with dragons just really tickled my fancy. And what’s more, is that the world also has a different, demonic realm, so to speak, that is super eerie and haunting and that I really want to read more of. I also was very intrigued by the Five-Arrow Quiver, which means that mages of the five different elements, so to speak, are granted more powers when together.


The only reason I didn’t give this delightful novella five stars was that I found that I didn’t like Fellian very much. Though she seems to be a capable and brave young woman, even risking treason to teach others to read in secret, she asks many rude and abrasive questions to the point that others even refer to her as “rude girl.” And she makes a decision at the end of Servant Mage that I just couldn’t get behind. I also couldn’t really figure out what was going on between her and another member of the Monarchists, Shey, whom she admits to finding attractive, but also seems to dislike. Regardless, I hope that Fellian will step up to the plate more if there are ever more works in this universe, which I ardently hope that there are.


I was really interested in the dark and interesting world that Servant Mage takes place in and lamented that this work was only a novella. I would happily read an entire series based on Servant Mage and can only hope that author Kate Elliot revisits this world in the future. In the meantime, I’ll definitely be looking into reading more of her novels. If they have half as interesting world-building as Servant Mage, I will be happy indeed.

Book Review : Servant Mage - Blogging with Dragons

Posted August 9, 2021 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

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