The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czerneda – ARC Review

The Gossamer Mage by Julie E Czerneda.jpgSummary:

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.

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.

Review: 3 Stars

I wanted to read The Gossamer Mage because the cover was absolutely gorgeous and the blurb sounded fascinating. I was very excited for this book, but it didn’t really live up to my expectations. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. On one hand it was incredibly slow and very easy to set down, but on the other it was also beautifully magical and the ending left me feeling so satisfied. It took me 6 days to finish this book, and with the amount of time I had to read I should have finished it a lot sooner than that.

For most of the first third of the book I wanted to DNF the book. It felt as if the plot had no real direction and I kept setting it down to do anything but read. While the book was written in third person it switched to focus on so many different characters that I found myself frequently forgetting what was going on with the characters when the book finally came back to them. I kept reading because the magic system really intrigued me and I was hopeful that the book would pick up its pace and that the plot would begin to feel like it was going somewhere.

While the pacing remained very slow for the entire novel, about a third of the way in it started to feel as if the plot finally had a direction. I think that this book was so slow for me because the writing is so dense. The way it is written feels overly wordy, but it is also incredibly vivid and truly brought the world to life. The world building is exquisite and really brings home the fact that in this world magic has a price and that price is death.

Once the plot brought the characters to The Mage School I found myself absolutely loving the book. While we had heard so much about magic, up until this point we didn’t see very much of it. This part of the novel was where Julie Czerneda’s dense writing brought magic to life in beautiful and fantastical ways.I found myself fascinated with all of the different creations that the mages made and since I was so engrossed I found the book moving faster for me. But I never did find myself attached to any of the characters. I think the character development was lacking a bit and the constant change in perspective made it hard to connect to any one character.

Overall I’m pleased with the ending and left feeling satisfied, but not sure if I will return for any of Julie Czerneda’s other books. It was magical and beautiful, but far too slow paced for me. If you like dense vivid writing then you should give this book a shot.

12 thoughts on “The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czerneda – ARC Review

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    1. Thank you! It was a hard review to write because I had such mixed feelings about the book. Parts of it were so beautiful and the world building was amazing, but it was just SO slow and I didn’t really jive with the characters. I am glad I read it, because that ending was really satisfying and some of the descriptions were so beautiful. I guess I might compare the descriptions to like… The Night Circus, but the book moved so slowly for me. But it was still good. Like I said, I have a lot of mixed feelings.

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    1. You might like this a lot if you love slow burns. The descriptions were beautiful and it had really vivid world building, but I got confused with all the switching between characters, probably because I kept setting the book down. I feel like if I read the book at a time where I wanted a slower book I may have enjoyed it more, but at the same time I’m not really sure. I just had a lot of mixed feelings about it. I wouldn’t count it out though!

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    1. I have found myself thinking of this book a lot after reading, but it was also so slow for me and really just took a long time to get through and I had such issues in the beginning. I still wouldn’t count the book out though, because parts of it were so magical and vivid. I just had a lot of mixed feelings.

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  1. I finally snuck over here after posting my review. I was just lost. It is a shame because there is so much to love that the author does- the world building, the magic system- but like you I was utterly lost by all the character names/title changes, too many gossamers doing exactly what? And then it just seemed so bogged down in technicalities that the story never had room to breathe.

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    1. We were both so excited for it too! It took me FOREVER to get through. Parts of it were just SO beautiful, but I just feel like there wasn’t enough character development and there was a huge emphasis on world building and honestly I felt like it got repetitive. But once the story was at the school and we finally got to see the beautiful magic I was happy…. well.. kind of. I did feel like the ending was extremely satisfying and am glad that I read it because the world building was so cool. I was disappointed though.

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      1. Yes we were both very excited. And I completely agree about the magic system. It was so well thought out and unique. I loved it except for all the different Gossamers doing all the different things. But some authors get lazy in how they handle magic systems and this was the opposite. It was a shame it got bogged down.

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      2. I agree. I could have used more character development and a clearer plot in the beginning at least. After reading I have found myself thinking of it again and again, but also remember that I felt like it dragged. So I have mixed feelings clearly.

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