In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage's blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head - and assassins at his heels. Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld's side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him. But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.
I’d been looking for a change of pace, reading-wise and fancied some more traditional fantasy – The Sentinel Mage has that in spades! There is a quest to halt the darkness spreading over the land, a prince with a hidden destiny, an evil king bent on expanding his empire, a journey across difficult terrain, mages with power over fire and the ability to shapeshift. I was quickly swept up in the journey and enjoying the swords and sorcery feel of the story. Innis’s ability to shift into a man was a different twist – although it felt slightly downplayed at times. I enjoyed some of the political games played at the castle with Harkeld’s sister and was definitely left wanting more in that arena.
The writing is smooth and easy, allowing for quick page turning. There is plenty of action and some nice sympathic characters, even if not all the secondary characters are fleshed out. Overall I would say this adds nothing new to the fantasy genre, but it is an enjoyable escape and I was charmed by the time spent with the characters and story. I’m looking forward to the second part of this trilogy when it is released next year.
Recommended for fans of Jennifer Fallon and Karen Miller. 7.5 out of 10.