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Servant Mage, by Kate Elliott

Review copy provided by the publisher.

I often say that the failure mode of a novella is to have the exposition of a novel and the payoff of a short story. I was concerned about Servant Mage because so much of Kate Elliott’s work is so epic. How would she adjust to the novella format?

Well, I find the results interestingly mixed. Servant Mage reads to me like the beginning of a longer work rather than a truncated stand-alone. There’s a lot of exposition going on here–five types of mages and several political factions with characters attached to each, which is exactly my jam. The ending is not so much anticlimactic as it is an opening of possibilities. Our heroine Fellian remains inquisitive despite her difficult circumstances, an ideal character for exploring a large and varied world. Which is what we’re getting here, I think; we’re getting the beginning of a world with a lot going on. But this is only the beginning. It’s Kate Elliott, and it’s Tor.com. We can feel confident that there will be more.

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