Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Breaker: Tales of the Outlaw Mages - Amy Campbell

Title: Breaker: Tales of the Outlaw Mages (Book One)
Author: Amy Campbell
Publisher: Independently published, 2021 (Paperback, ebook)
Length: 433 pages 
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Started: June 30, 2021
Finished: July 5, 2021

From the back cover:

Walking Disaster. Ruiner. Spook. Sorcerer. The reason we can't have    nice things. 

The citizens in the of Bristle have called Blaise every name in the  book. Born a Breaker, his unbridled magic wreaks havoc with a touch. As his peers land apprenticeships, Blaise faces the reality that no one wants a mage who destroys everything around him. When enemy soldiers storm the town hunting for spellcasters, he has no choice but to escape and rush headlong into the unknown. 

A chance encounter with a pegasus sets Blaise on the path to a new life. Despite the machinations of a surly gunslinger, he finds a place to belong in the hardscrabble world of the outlaw mages. 

But even an outlaw mage can't outrun his past, and Blaise's returns with a vengeance, threatening his chosen family. Can Blaise find the grit to harness his volatile magic into a saving grace, or will his most dangerous challenge be his last? 

Now that the school year is done and I can finally breathe, it's time to read for pleasure once again and thanks to TikTok I have plenty of recommendations to rebuild my TBR pile. This one was the first and it was a great way to kickstart my summer reading. 

In Iphyria, those with magical abilities are rounded up and controlled by the Salt-Iron Confederation, and there's very few places where mages can live without being forced to use their powers against their will. Blaise lives with his family in Desina, one of those few few hold-outs. Although he hasn't had to worry about the Confederation, Blaise still struggles because his magic isn't supposed to exist. Blaise is a Breaker, an untrained one at that, destroying everything he touches. 

When the Confederation comes calling in Desina, Blaise is forced to flee. He finds himself, alone, in the Gutter, a harsh region populated by outlaw mages that the Confederation doesn't control. When he rescues a Pegasus named Emrys, he discovers a community in Itude that accepts and welcomes him. But when the Confederation tracks him down even there, can Blaise control his magic to protect his newfound family?

This author had me hooked with "Asexual magic cowboys." 'Cause if that's not a reason to read a book, I don't know what is. Add in the Pegasi characters and you really can't go wrong here. 

This book pulls you right in from the start, and I attribute that to the excellent characters. Blaise is a sweetheart and you just want to hug him and tell him everything's going to be okay. Jack is perfect and prickly, adding just enough conflict in the beginning to make his character development throughout the book nice and satisfying. And the Pegasi, oh, the Pegasi are the best part of this book, they totally steal the show. Emrys and Zepheus have a fair bit of range, their telepathic communications with their riders varying from sweet to sarcastic and a bit scathing, and their little business venture selling Blaise's baked goods to the other Pegasi had me laughing. I haven't even touched on the rest of the characters that populate Itude, but they're all endearing to say the least. 

The world building is nicely done throughout the book rather than all at the beginning, and the magic system is unique in that each person born with magic (not everyone is) having their own particular specialty, and I'm not talking basic elemental magic like your average fantasy book, there are actually some types described that are quite impressive in their originality. 

When the book you're reading has subtle Community references and librarian humour, you know it's going to be good (go read this!). There's an intriguing universe and magic system, and the characters are just phenomenal. I've already put book 2, Effigest on my list to buy when it comes out. 

If anyone wants to check out the author and her works, you can do so here: Amy Campbell
If anyone wants to read the book, you can find links to various retailers here: Breaker
If anyone wants to check out the cover artist, you can do so here: EerilyFair Design

Thoughts on the cover:
It's so pretty. I never thought I'd say that about a cover with obvious western motifs (that usually aren't my thing) but it's so stinkin' pretty. 

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