Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: The Magician’s Apprentice
Author: J.A. Jaken
Series: Dragon Mage Chronicles Prequel
Heroes: Jander & Andrei
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 471 pages
Publisher: White Owl Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Jander Teregnan has never wanted anything more than to become a mage—to serve his king and defend his country as he explores his natural talent at commanding the strange force known as magic. Of course every apprentice needs a master, which comes with its own set of challenges…especially when the master he’s chosen for himself is none other than Andrei Teresh, personal advisor to the king and master mage of the city of Vallerin. Andrei, however, has more pressing problems on his mind than dealing with the unsolicited advances of one untrained mage-apprentice. A fierce and merciless army of unknown intent is sweeping across the land, threatening the security of the kingdom he has sworn to protect. Even worse, dragons—long thought to have withdrawn from the world of mankind—are emerging once again and spreading chaos in their wake. Somehow, Jander must find a way to help; not only to prove that he can be of use in the defense of his kingdom and become a mage, but also to secure his place at the side of the man he hopes to claim as master both of his magic and his heart.
When I read the blurb for this book, I was immediately intrigued with it and couldn’t wait to read it. I loved it so much that I read it in just over a day (which is very rare for me now with a story this long) because once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. Jander drew me into the story right from the start with his heroism and innocence. I loved seeing how determined he was to be Andrei’s apprentice but then how dejected he got when Andrei rejected him. It was interesting to see Jander and Boaen create such a great friendship and how Boaen helped Jander to win Andrei over. I loved how stubborn Jander became and the slow respect that Andrei started to develop for Jander. As for Andrei, he starts off ice cold but then slowly thaws to Jander. I loved seeing him slowly realize that Jander wasn’t someone he could just run off or forget about it. It was interesting to see things from his perspective as well as Jander’s because they’re both completely different characters.
While I really, really loved this book, I had a few issues. For one, and this is just a personal taste, Jander starts off the story claiming he’s not a whore… but then sleeps with all his friends. This bothered me because while he was all naive and innocent, he had no problem giving his body up to them even when he didn’t want to. For me, I’m not a huge fan of that behavior and, honestly, I prefer my MCs to sleep only with each other in the books I’m reading. In this one, there’s more smut between Jander and others than there seems to be with Jander and Andrei. Add to that, while this book is already a long one, I wished the ending had been a little more fleshed out. The last two or so chapters are all being ‘told’ instead of ‘shown’. This saddened me because up until that point, the author did a phenomenal job of really showing it all unfold and creating such an amazing world.
All in all, I absolutely adored this novel. I loved Jander and Andrei as characters but loved them even more when Andrei started embracing their relationship and accepted Jander. It was interesting to see their journey to try to save Vallerin and watching it all unfold. I had a few niggles but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of the story. I can’t wait to see where Jander and Andrei go from here. Definitely give this a go if you’re looking for a meaty fantasy to sink you’re teeth into!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*