Title: The Stone Mage and the Sea
Author: Sean Williams
Series: The Change #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Elements, Fantasy
Dates read: 29th – 31st October 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: “But my dad -“
In a world…
where the huge, red-sanded deserts are ruled by Stone Mages and the vast coastlines by Sky Wardens, any child with magic ability is taken away to the Haunted City to be trained in the Change.
Fundelry is a small town much like any other in the Strand. The people have little tolerance for anyone who stands out, and Sal and his father are strangers, running from someone… or something. Sal is rescued from the local bully by Shilly and her teacher Lodo, a mysterious tattooed man who seems to know more about Sal than Sal himself. And, strangely, Sal’s father seems to want to stay put for a while.
But soon the Sky Wardens will come to Fundelry – before then Sal must uncover the connection between Lodo and the mother he never met, in order to escape a fate that seems to have been chosen for him before he was even born…
This has everything that a traditional fantasy novel should have. The fantasy novels that I grew up with and first introduced me to the genre had this same kind of amazing mystical feel to it. From the very first page, I was swept into Williams’ world and really, seriously didn’t want to leave. I could imagine this small town, the confused Sal and the immensity of the sea from the very beginning. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can picture it all in my mind’s eye.
The characters in this story are really strong and well thought out. Sometimes it can take me a little while to get attached to characters and find the rhythm of the story. Or, as the case may be, the world building that has constructed the story and characters. That’s not the case with The Stone Mage and the Sea. From that very first scene with Sal and his father driving into a town, you are there. Right in the moment. Pulled in, whether you like it or not.
Lodo is everything that a mysterious teacher should be. I’m hoping that he doesn’t just disappear off the face of the earth after this book. He is tattooed, enigmatic and completely impossible to predict. Partnered with his apprentice, Shilly, they are great duo that help to build Sal up and help him start on a new path in life. Which, considering how this novel ended, I think is incredibly and wonderfully important. Sal grows so much in this first novel, I can’t wait to see how he’ll grow in the next two novels.
The Stone Mage and the Sea is everything I haven’t realised I’ve been missing in fantasy novels. I have been reading a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal fantasy and all such. So picking up a novel that bought me back to the fantasy novels that first got me enthralled in the genre… well, I’m glad that I have the rest of the trilogy sitting on my shelves, ready to go.
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