Mageland’s Epic 1: The Queen’s Executioner Review

The Queen’s Executioner by Christopher Mitchell was an okay start to The Mageland’s Epic series. Truth be told, I was a little thrown off from the start by the pages about the races and the huge list of characters and how they were interrelated — some of which never even saw the light of day within the text itself. All of the information literally told to me in the first pages before the book even started would have been better fit if they were weaved within the text itself, which felt absent of the descriptions I had read in the beginning, leading me to believe the author assumed everybody would read that because if they hadn’t, they’d be confused.

What’s nice about the text and what makes it easy to at least read throughout is that the author clearly knows what he’s talking about. The execution of his world building within the final text may have missed the mark on a few places, but even though so many things are “told” to you throughout the text, it’s still evident that the author himself has put a lot of thought into how everything works within this world.

Some things just fell a little flat for me — like the love triangle I couldn’t have cared any less about, how the magic in the world actually worked as well as why it was such a taboo, and the randomized addition of the world’s “faith” toward the end — but it never became a book I didn’t particularly want to stop reading. That being said, apart from the twist at the end, there’s nothing else that would really keep me going further into the next book.

The love triangle felt a little forced, and we mostly saw the development of the new relationship — nothing about the current one that’s falling apart. That’s all it does; fall apart. I thought they were siblings at first, so I was rooting for the new relationship the entire time instead of feeling the push-pull of emotions — emotions that were being told to me instead of shown for the large part.

As to the magic, there were elements in there that I enjoyed, but there are also elements in there that make me feel like the magic was inserted just because in certain places. In my detailed notes below I reference Brandon Sanderson’s First Law of Magic, and I just think that it was violated in this text. Not to say that law is an actual law, but his theory of magic needing to make sense instead of being used to get characters out of situations really does enhance the experience, and I felt that to be lacking in here. Especially because a lot of historical elements of the world are either left out or just told in passing instead of any development about what happened in the past that caused the current events. That’s another aspect that, again, is obvious that the author has put some thought into, but in final execution, the translation feels a little off.

The randomized addition of faith is something I also talked about in my plot development video, but there wasn’t really any mention of a “Creator” until well past the second third, at least not one that stuck out to me, and it felt really important toward the end. That just felt a little jarring, is all.

And none of this is to mention that I didn’t even connect with who I assume was meant to be a main character until way past the start of the second half, either. This character is, for all intents and purposes, “The Queen’s Executioner,” and they did not become interesting to me until it became obvious that that was who they were. That being said, I was disconnected because their chapters were so sparse at the beginning and everybody else is connected, so I just found myself wondering where they were too often to really connect to them until they were suddenly “so important.”

I can understand why the author wanted to keep certain things succinct and to the point, especially regarding his self-publication of this, but it is also a text that I felt would have benefitted from more development. A lot of development in a good portion of the text might have added two or three hundred pages, but it would have suited everything better, in my opinion.

What I did like, however, and something that I’ll take with me moving forward into my own texts as well, was the examination of slavery and how this world’s political system affected that. It’s eerily similar to the US history, and this author is European, but I enjoyed reading a fantasized version of that history from an author in a different country, because, to me anyway, that offered a really unique perspective.

Again, as weird as it is to say it, the politics of this book was also a highlight for me. It gave me the Joe Abercrombie vibes, and I felt like the political characters in this book were some of the strongest in the text.

I also liked how the different races spawned from reptiles, amphibians, and apes, I just wish there was more development in the actual text of all of that, because, again, if I hadn’t read everything in the beginning pages, I would have been so so lost. It jarred me because usually that kind of content is left for the end of the book and is used as a reference if you forget something while you’re reading, not at the front as something you need to know before you even start.

Overall, I give it a 3.5 out of five, but on Goodreads I rounded it down to 3 just because I felt so disconnected from the characters. The plot itself was good, it’s certainly not poorly written and it’s entertaining enough to read the entire thing, but certain areas that lacked for me just cause me to lower the rating a bit.


Click here to read spoiler-fueled, chapter-by-chapter summary/review.

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