Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
This is a book that focuses around action, but pulls off the brilliant feat of also being an excellent, people-focused story. The major focus is a war, but we see the politics behind it, the preparations, the tensions; following several different characters means that we get to see different aspects of the battles as well as the world.
I’m not sure who my favourite characters are…it’s a cross between the Mages, the Gods, and Vargus! I love the varying motivations, which are brilliantly brought out; I love the different characteristics, the hints of foreign lands and mannerisms, the different histories and pasts and people.
The action is always very well done – I don’t think there’s a boring moment! The pace of the book is a nice balance between fast and slow, which works very well as otherwise I think endless battle would get tedious. There are some spectacular action scenes but I liked the smaller moments too, and the details; the conversations between enemies, the tensions between friends.
The sequel (well, sort-of-sequel) is Bloodmage, which is out now. I’m only halfway through it but so far it’s as good as Battlemage!