Monday, January 31, 2022

DNF&Y [40]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

Servant Mage  by Kate Elliot

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.

Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.

But Fellion has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…

In Kate Elliott's Servant Mage, a lowly fire mage finds herself entangled in an empire-spanning conspiracy on her way to discovering her true power.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Servant Mage had the potential to be a great fantasy, but the story felt too rushed and the characters were sadly underdeveloped. I hated how little information we were given about the world we were thrown into, and the small revelations are told during info-dumping paragraphs instead of learned along the way. A good fantasy is believable despite its unbelievability, and Elliot didn't quite manage that with this one.

It also had several errors right off the bat, even for an ARC. Fellion was left a single dumpling so as not to upset her stomach (malnourished), yet the very next page she's grabbing a second one. Small inconsistencies like this don't normally bother me, but they do tend to stick out like a sore thumb. There were numerous spelling and grammatical errors as well, but hopefully those are taken care of before the book's publication.

Additionally, I wish we'd been given more explanations as to how the world worked. Fellion mentioned and alluded to having more than two parents. She called one Older Father and one Younger Father, in addition to her Mother and Grandmother. Why did she have more than one father? Was this commonplace for the people within the book, or an unusual circumstance for the main character? 

I think knowing so little about the world contributed to certain sentences and statements not making sense. "Shey tipped a hand to his ear, a movement she saw as the heat of his body shifting position." Eh? What's that supposed to mean? Shey then does something weird with his hands that lets them travel a great distance in a few steps, but it's only vaguely explained, and I really need my fantastical stories to make sense within the confines of the book's world (or world's). 

I also hate it when people are running for their lives but can stop to appreciate and comment on another character's looks. Really? If I'm scared to death, fleeing people who would hurt or kill me, someone's cheekbones are not going to be a priority. 

I wish the author hadn't rushed this story and had taken more time to develop the world and its characters. I think Servant Mage has a unique concept, so I'm disappointed by how superficial and surface level everything felt. (★★☆☆☆)


  1. lol Yeah, If I'm running for my life, I'm not going to stop to notice someone's looks.

  2. Yeah, this sounds like a really confusing story that didn't explain itself very well at all. I will not be reading it.

    1. I liked the idea for the story, but it definitely needed some finessing.


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