Review: The Mage on the Hill – Angel Martinez

The Mage on the Hill Book Cover The Mage on the Hill
The Web of Arcana Book 1
Angel Martinez
M/M Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Dreamspinner Press
May 7, 2019

A young magic user who wants desperately to live. A jaded recluse who has forgotten what living means. They’re each other’s only chance.

Toby’s wild magic is killing him. The mage guilds have given up on him, and it’s only a matter of time before he dies in a spectacular, catastrophic bang. His only hope is an exiled wizard who lives in seclusion—and is rumored to have lost his mind.

The years alone on his hilltop estate have not been good for Darius Valstad. After the magical accident that disfigured him and nearly drowned Pittsburgh, he drifts through his days, a wraith trapped in memories and depression. Until a stricken young man collapses on his driveway, one who claims Darius is his last chance. For the first time in fifteen years, Darius must make a choice—leave this wild mage to his fate or take him in and try to teach him, which may kill them both. The old Darius, brash and commanding, wouldn’t have hesitated. Darius the exile isn’t sure he can find the energy to try.

Reviewed by Melissa Brus

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Angel Martinez has so many gifts when it comes to writing. And they are ALL evident in this first book of the Web of Arcana series! First of all is the world building. In this book, the world is a fantasy version of our own, where magic users live among us, and are separated into guilds. Unfortunately, if you are not easily placed into your arcana-or the origins of your magic-then you are placed in hospice. This doesn’t sound awful until you realize the definition of a magic hospice is basically a long, slow death sentence where they literally starve you to death. The level of detail strikes that delicate balance where the reader is drawn into the narrative without getting bogged down by it. Martinez’s second gift is the depth of her characters. Tobias Jones and Darius Valstad could not be more different. Toby is young, energetic, joyful, and chatty. Dar is broken. He is older, grumpy, a loner, and communicates in grunts and mono-syllabic words if he uses any at all. These two are forced into close proximity when Toby seeks out Dar as the last chance he has for survival. In their quest to figure out how to help Toby, they encounter other outcasts that are also a part of Dar’s interesting past. These secondary characters are all unique and interesting enough that I really hope they each get their own story in this series. As if an engrossing world and fascinating characters aren’t enough, then Martinez adds some really original adventures and a sweet romance. If this book is the example of what is to come in this series, then I, for one, am exercising my clicking finger so that I am ready when they are released!

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