Toby has magic—lots of it. The problem is it is unchanneled. In their multiple attempts to determine Toby’s major and minor arcana, the guild makes the same assessment so many others have before—Toby is “unplaceable” and as such must be humanely euthanized in order to keep his unchecked and violent magic from harming others.
The Mage on the Hill is essentially a story of healing and rebirth. Both Toby and Darius are in need of being saved–Toby so that he either doesn’t die due to his wild magic killing him or the guild medicating him to the point that he slowly drifts away while starving to death, and Darius to right the catastrophic accident that left an unbalanced mage in his care dead and Darius disfigured and outcast. These two reluctantly begin a journey with Darius teaching Toby how to control his magic as they frantically search for his arcana. An arcana is essentially what elements such as earth, wind, fire, water, etc. will react to Toby’s magic and allow him to funnel it through that element safely so that he can leak some out of his system and not implode in a magical meltdown. (Please know that is an incredibly simplistic definition that is no doubt flawed and that the author not only explains it so much better, but much more clearly.) The science aspect of this novel was fascinating simply because author Angel Martinez wrapped it in a fast paced story that kept me on the edge of my seat with worry that not even the great Darius Valstad could help poor, sweet Toby. Along the way, Toby meets other “unplaceable” success stories that Darius has helped and who are thrilled to discover that Darius is still alive and teaching again. But the guild Toby escaped is determined to get him back and eliminate the threat he is to himself and others.
This novel races from one potential disaster to the next and left me breathless in its wake. With an interesting host of side characters whose stories I am hoping we get in the coming installments to this new series, to the wonderfully funny and hopeful Toby who is both Darius’ salvation and simultaneously a thorn in his grumpy side, I was absolutely hooked. The story never lets up—with action to spare and the constant threat of imminent death for Toby, the goal to find help was frantic. Angel Martinez has an incredible talent for creating characters who get under your skin and make you care about them almost instantly. Toby is just plain adorable and easily loved. Darius never stands a chance against the young man. Side note–this is an age gap romance done so very well. It also bears saying that although this is the first in a new series, there is no cliffhanger and a definite HEA that will leave you fully satisfied.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Mage on the Hill and would recommend it to fantasy lovers everywhere. For those who enjoy age gap romance and action-packed novels, this novel has all that and more going for it. I look forward to the next book in this series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.