The Tethered Mage by Melissa CarusoThe Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

The Tethered Mage

byMelissa Caruso

Paperback | October 24, 2017

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The first book in a spellbinding fantasy trilogy for fans of The Queen of the Tearling and The Red Queen, where two young women -- a mage with coveted powers, and the scion of a powerful family -- are magically bound in service to the Empire.

Magic is scarce in the Raverran Empire, and those born with such powers are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon army, to be used as weapons in times of war.

Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire Empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations.

But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

The Tethered Mage is the first novel in Caruso's debut series, Swords and Fire.

The Swords and Fire series
The Tethered Mage
The Defiant Heir
Melissa Caruso is a graduate of Brown University and University of Massachusetts - Amherst. She lives in Massachusetts, where she occasionally swordfights in a ballgown.
Title:The Tethered MageFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.75 inPublished:October 24, 2017Publisher:OrbitLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316466875

ISBN - 13:9780316466875

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining, easy read I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As an avid reader of fantasy novels, I found this one easy to follow with a fresh magical system. The political intrigue was also entertaining and not so complex as to make it difficult to follow. The characters showed growth and were enjoyable to get to know, however I think there is room for more back story with all of them. While I don't believe it is technically classified as YA, the language, romantic plot, and pace make it feel that way. (not in my opinion a bad thing- just makes it more accessible to more readers).
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Rambled, But It's Good I held off on reading this one for a while, and I regret that immensely. This was a fantastic political fantasy read! Filled with magic and romance and political machinations, it kept me guessing right through to the end. As far as debuts go, this was top notch. A very well thought out world and plot, especially in terms of the political aspect. From an empire, to independent city-states, to cities of rebellion and garrisons shielding magic, Caruso covered the whole spectrum of government rule and diplomacy. And the best part of it all? It wasn't confusing. Normally, these kind of tales you really need to pay attention with it. With the strange fantasy names and rapid-fire pace of introduction, it wasn't difficult to follow. It was very...grounded? I don't know how to explain it, but it was just so well done! That, and the plot itself was equal parts intriguing, believable and fresh. It didn't feel cliché or overdone at any point, which kept me flying through it. The writing itself was wonderful. Easy to read and follow with several beautiful little literary surprises sprinkled throughout. Some phrases Caruso used were just fantastic, and I wish I'd written them down or saved them. The pacing was good as well. At no point was I bored or wanting to skip any parts. The world building was fantastic as well. Each city visited was unique and easily pictured in my mind. The history that is fed to the reader throughout (although not a lot) was also interesting. The particulars of the magic aspect may have been my favourite part. I loved the different levels to it! Some people are warlocks, with crazy destructive powers, while others are artificers, people who use wires, beads and runes to weave spells. The premise of falcon and falconer in regards to the different mage marked was so cool. I really enjoyed the dynamics that came with that relationship, positive and negative. I also really liked that even people without the mage mark were learning about the magics as well, like alchemy and artifice. As for the characters, I loved each one. Amalia (love that name) was a main character I could get behind and very much root for. Her life and dealing with problems were understandable and relatable. I liked that she was one of those well read in artifice magic. Zaira was a firecracker, holy. I had to laugh at a lot of her little quips because they were so good and so very much her. The love interest was great too. Very organic relationship with plenty of roadblocks along the way. All I will say is there haven't been too many couples where I was thinking "And KISS" every time they got together. Caruso made me wait, but it was worth it. My only complaint was it was a little too long. But other than that, I really enjoyed this. I can't wait for the second. 4.5/5
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Magic System but Slower Pacing I buddy read The Tethered Mage with a friend and it was fun getting to discuss the book together. We had some concerns but they were minor and we both ended up enjoying the book quite a bit. I really loved some of the magic concepts introduced. The Tethered Mage is a book full of political influencers, power-hungry extremists, brave and reckless souls and timid yet sometimes bold young blood. These characters formed the foundation of the story. They took the guesswork and ploys to the next level as their push and pull became more intense and entangled. It was an absolute joy to follow Zaira, Amalia and Marcello around. This trio saw the best of actions ;) The shy and forbidden romance was a pleasant bonus treat. The only issue I had with The Tethered Mage was the pacing. Major politics were at play so understandably there was a lot of set up however it really dragged. While I fully appreciate getting a clear picture of the political climate, much of it felt redundant after more than a few mentions. I could've done without the repetition but it wasn't so serious it affected my adoration for the characters. The Falconer and Falcon magic system was fascinating. Learning about their complex relationship had my rapt attention. I'm impressed by the network set up for the mage-marked even if the motives do seem ambiguous at times. I have a feeling we will be hearing more debate over it in future books. I'd definitely be up to seeing more sides to the 'good will' of the Serene Empire. I'm so thrilled there will be more to the world in The Tethered Mage. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the sequel. The title alone, The Defiant Heir, promises action and intrigues. I'm super pumped just thinking of the possibilities!
Date published: 2017-10-23

Editorial Reviews

"A gorgeous, fresh fantasy debut filled with political intrigue and ethical quandary.... Highly recommend."-Girls in Capes