Book Review: Chaosmage (The Age of Darkness Trilogy #3) by Stephen Aryan


Publishing Date: 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: Ooooh, zombies.

This series did not follow a set of stories based on one theme with a grande culmination at the end. This was the same world both spatially and temporally but with a new story and characters each time. There are still some characters from other novels that take a back seat in this installment. For a finale’ this was pretty good.

What is not to like? Medieval zombies created from a parasite and manipulated by magic to become something sinister. Flesh mages that burn the life out of people and assume their identities while creating emotional havoc and feeding on the outbursts of anger/lust/hate. Wow. Also, Finn’s sword makes an appearance (yay!).

I am going to hope that this world continues with Balfruss…..someday.

Book Review: Bloodmage (The Age of Darkness Trilogy #2) by Stephen Aryan


Publishing Date:

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.9/5

Review: Again with the bad cover art.

This installment resides in the same world, during the same period with different characters other than a few. Talandra is back in a supporting role along with Vargus. If you are into Palace intrigue, spies and the brutal underbelly of a city, then this is for you. There are still battles yet they take on a personal edge as our heroes are at the forefront of most.

I was entertained despite a lot of truncated scenes. This “Bam!, Boof! we are done and everything is resolved, so let’s move on” type of writing leaves much to be desired. Like poignancy’s gift to a well developed story line. Did I care about Fray, Munroe or Goraxx? Not really. As main characters they never developed to the point where their loss might affect your ability to buy the next in the series. They were just average in development and shallow in depth. Even Choss, whom was the pivot point for most of the action, was not to be missed should he catch a fatal steel bolt through an eye.

Lack of character development, when there is plenty of movement, usually spells disaster for most novels as there really is no excuse to not imbibe them with depth. Sacrificing characterization for the sake of raw entertainment renders the story line mundane. Mathew Riley’s novels encompass the same ideals and always leave you a little empty.

Let us hope that Chaosmage pumps the brakes a bit and allows for depth to be built.


Book Review: Battlemage (The Age of Darkness Trilogy #1) by Stephen Aryan


Publishing Date: 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: That cover art is crap, period.

Our list of characters are few and I like that. Much easier to follow the story line without muddling it up with inventive names. Balfruss is a Battlemage. Vargus is a soldier. Talandra, a spy-princess. What they all have in common, besides fighting for their Kingdom, is loads of honor and impeccable virtue. Ho Hum.

Princess Talandra is a lesbian (of course) and a devious spymaster. She wends her way through the story line compromising the enemy in desperate fashion. As characters go, she is the least interesting and the most irritating with all of her “Kingdom before self”-isms. This constant virtuosity just wears you the fuck down. Initially, Balfruss is a bit of a douche and comes off quite the elitist with a side of high brow thrown in (he just gives and gives you know). Even Prince Charming couldn’t lift his dick. Yet he evolves as a character as the movement crescendos. Vargus made this novel a real delight. Exacting vengeance for a township wronged by bandits right from the start, he continues to kick-ass while being grounded in good sense and fair play. A complex character that hints of an ancient life of conflict.

The sword forged from a meteorite never makes an impact in the story line, which was odd since there was some time spent yapping about it. The novel is well written and the story line, engaging. I plan to follow through to the next in: “Bloodmage”.