Quarter-Finalist Publishers Weekly/BookLife BEST FANTASY NOVEL 2021
Plot: Mage’s Mountain is an adventure fantasy with plenty of main- and sub-plots, none of which are ever in danger of getting lost amid the action. Every sub-plot and character mystery enhances the story, very often tying into the main plot, deftly weaving a complex, wonderful tale.
Prose/Style: This novel is perfectly paced with beautiful, captivating prose that brings battles to life and beautifully paints the worlds both above and below the Mountain of the New Gods.
Originality: Main character Xen is tasked by his late mentor with finally uncovering the truth of Dragon Rift Canyon. Ancient mysteries are uncovered, the land itself is hostile and unstable, and deftly-crafted fantasy beings—ones which lie far outside the familiar, Tolkienesque roots of the genre—abound. The magic system is both complex and unique, a real treat for fans of the genre.
Character Development/Execution: Xen is an extremely powerful mage, but one whose abilities have rules and limits that sometimes lead to inconvenient to deadly outcomes when using magic in battle, and someone who cares deeply about his companions. The cast of supporting characters is a fascinating plethora of different genders and fantasy races—waspmen, dwarves, dragons, and many more—each of whom the overarching plot could not do without.
Blurb: A high fantasy full of adventure, creatures both frightening and wondrous, and ancient mysteries waiting to be discovered that will leave fans of the genre eagerly awaiting the second book in the Dragonscales Chronicles.
- Plot/Idea: 9
- Originality: 9
- Prose: 10
- Character/Execution: 9
- Overall: 9.25
Report Submitted: October 18, 2021
A mystery lies at the bottom of the Dragon Rift Canyon. It’s something that has claimed the lives of wizards in decades past. Xen from the tower of wizards is sworn to uncover the mystery or die trying.
Xen’s band of adventurers, tireless dwarves, a young alchemist, and Joi, a fierce warrior-princess from the frozen northlands, move down the ancient crumbling stairs descending Dragon Rift wall.
They stand on the river banks three days later, observing an unusual flat boulder in the rushing water.
His exploration, unknown to Xen, will take him to the Mountain of the New Gods, where no one who dares climb its slopes ever returns.
But that is in the wizard’s future. Right now, he has to survive the test of the rock in Dragon Rift. A test no one has come through alive so far.
Written by the godfather of role-playing, and author of a number of best-selling fantasy books, James M. Ward and Steve Peek. Our beta readers consistently said, " one of the best fantasy books I've read in years."