Book Reviews

Review: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

The Tethered Mage is immersive, clever, and full to the brim with amazing characters. While it is easy to get carried away with the world building, the magic, and the betrayal, what I loved were our cast of characters.


In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled — taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.

Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage.


book review The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher, Orbit. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I had extremely high hopes for this book after the synopsis, and the amazing Genevieve Cogman blurb, and I was not disappointed at all. Caruso paints us a magical and immersive fantasy world. It’s full of magic, both delightful and terrifying, as well as political intrigue that we have only begun to grasp. There is an extremely important balance between magical atmosphere and politics and Caruso treads the line perfectly.

This varied cast of women were my favorite of this book. I loved her shrewd and calculating mother, her intelligent and discrete maid, Amalia’s honest intentions, and Zaria’s cleverness (not to mention bisexual leanings). The relationships were nuanced and while Amalia and Zaria’s took the center stage, I was intrigued in all of them! Each of them are unique in their own ways and I actually want to make a little squad of them in my real life – although that might result in too many dead bodies around us….

But before you ask, Zaria and Amalia’s mother are my favorite. What can I say? I love the intoxicating mixture of power, wit, and ruthlessness.

This incredible world building and detailed characters are only made better by being thrown together in a truly manipulative (in the best author way) series of events which only highlight Caruso’s writing skill. If you were searching for a plot full of blood, magical consequences, and betrayal then this is the right book for you.

(And a quick note about themes before I go, I loved the different discussions we witness about freedom and protection. How do we know when we are infringing on someone’s agency or protecting them? What if it’s both? All of these questions are reflected in a variety of nuanced ways. It is so good).

While you may be intrigued by the premise, you’ll be swept away by its realization and the characters who occupy this rich and colorful world. The pages fly by as we enjoy spending time with our characters in this world of dreams and magic. I cannot wait for the next one!

Go get The Tethered Mage on Amazon(US), your local indie, and add it to Goodreads.


Who would you want in your friend squad?

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