Author: Julie E. Czerneda
Hardcover, 400 pages
Publication: August 6, 2019 by Daw
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.
Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage.
For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.
To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.
For decades we’ve seen many mages in literature; from the boy who lived Harry Potter, fan favorite mage-detective Harry Dresden, to the all powerful Gandulf. In The Gossamer Mage, Czerneda introduces reader to a new kind of mage, one whom is wholly atypical, Maleonarial, an all-powerful mage that has brought countless gossamers to life in the name of the Deathless Goddess.
In the world of Tananen, those chosen by the Deathless Goddess are able to wield unimaginable magic. Mages have the ability to bring forth magic though the mechanism of pen and paper while Hold Daughter have the ability to hear the goddess voice and discern magic by auditory means. In The Gossamer Mage, readers follow Maleonarial and Hold Daughter, Kait as they try to defeat an evil that is plaguing their land.
I thought the world building was very different and fascinating. Tananen is ruled by the Deathless Goddess and while many believe that serving her is an honor and blessing, those who are actually chosen know the insidious truth. There’s a reason why she’s called the Deathless Goddess. Like most things in life, there’s a price to pay when you’re given a gift. In the case of mages, they age prematurely depending on the amount of magic they use. Hold Daughters are chosen randomly as the goddess’ designate for mission, forfeiting their life when called upon.
There were many characters and many narratives going on simultaneously in The Gossamer Mage. The main two is that of Maleonarial and Kait, whom I enjoyed reading from. I loved the dual point-of-view and seeing how each differed in serving the Deathless Goddess. The other supporting characters were also well-developed and wrapped up the ensemble nicely giving an extra depth to the world. I do want to add one small caution for future readers, as with most fantasy, the characters have somewhat hard to pronounce names. Since we are dealing with mages and daughters…everyone’s name ended in either -onarial (mage) or -ealyon (hold daughter) which as you can see, be quite confusing.
The writing itself was different and from other reviews, they’ve noticed as well.Census says you’ll either like it or hate it. I’ll be honest it was difficult in the beginning. At a glance, one would think that there was no structure. There were no chapters and it had odd breaks between paragraphs changing from one point-of-view to another without a clear transition. I initially thought it was choppy and clunky but as I went further into the book, I found myself assimilating to Czerneda’s writing style. Once that happened I found myself truly enjoying the plot more and really immerse into the world. With that said, it’d be best to check out a snippet or sample before purchasing and reading.
All in all, I gotta say I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. It started off slow and confusing to the point that I almost DNF-ed it but I’m so glad I didn’t. The book is worth pushing through the uncertain beginning for a truly magical world and satisfying ending. If you’re looking for a unique and fresh take on mages and out-of-box fantasy, I highly recommend checking out The Gossamer Mage.