Magic is under siege as Bramwell Lancet, King of the Harth’s, seeks to eliminate the last traces of magic and rebellion in the land. Wardin Rath’s father, Draven Rath, King of the Eryd’s, sacrifices himself to protect his son and knowledge of the last magistry. With the death of Draven, Bramwell is led to believe he has eradicated the last magistry and place of magical learning. Wardin knows that, as the prince of the Eryd’s, Bramwell will search high and low till he is found. 

To ensure the last magistry stays hidden, Wardin turns himself over to Bramwell. Instead of ending his life, Bramwell has him put under a spell that tricks him into believing he is someone else. Convinced their prince has turned coat and forgotten them, the Eryd’s subject themselves to Harthian rule. 

When the contriver who is keeping Wardin under a spell dies suddenly, Wardin begins to remember who he was. He flees King Bramwell and finds his way to the last magistry. Reunited with his old friends, he must figure out a way to keep Pendralyn from being destroyed. 

I read this story as part of my “writing a strong opening” research and knew I wanted to continue reading it. From the opening pages, the author painted a picture and introduced me to characters that I wanted to know more about. The world and setting are what you expect from an adventure fantasy story, but I really enjoyed the way he established magic. 

To keep magic from being too strong he gave it weaknesses. Each type of magic, contrivance (imagination), sages (mental), and battlemagic (physical) required the magister to balance themselves with a task in opposition. So a battle mage had to do mental exercises to balance their use of battle magic. A contriver had to do menial tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and washing; a sage had to do physical activity. 

It was quite interesting in application and I thought the author did a great job executing the magic system.

Additionally I thought the characters he established were robust enough that I could relate to and be invested in them. For the most part the cast was kept simple, with the main character Wardin and his two closest friends, Bramwell and his son, and a moderate secondary cast of characters that helped give the main characters depth, while keeping them in the spotlight. 

I felt like the author also brought in elements and ideas, that are going to be applicable in later stories, in ways that like natural parts of this story, one of which is a legendary enchanted sword. They did a good job of setting up the later books, without making me feel like this book was missing things.

For the most part I buy my books from thrift stores, or look for great deals on sites like BookBub. There have been a few books that I’ve purchased new, either eBook or physical copy, but I liked this book enough that I’m going to purchase the second and third books in the series. 

If you’re looking for an enjoyable adventure fantasy story, Forsaken Kingdom by J.R. Rasmussen is a great read. 

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