Gossamer Mage by Julie Czerneda (Q and A/Giveaway link) has much to love for a fantasy novel. The world building is in done in extraordinary detail. The magic system is incredibly well defined. Everything is built up in a way that gives readers buy-in and plausibility.
Thank You to Daw/Penguin and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair review.
However, for me, it was very difficult for me to really love this book. It felt very weighed down in almost too much of everything it needed. If you simplified some of that information and gave the story more room for the story to breathe? It would have gone a long way to helping the story along.
Secondly, the characters titles are all very confusing. There are many books, especially fantasy books, that have a lot of characters thrown at you up front, all at once. If I can get through that initial push and move forward it can work.
The problem with the characters in Gossamer Mage is that there is not just a huge cast of characters. There are a huge cast of characters with multiple names and titles each. That becomes really confusing, really quickly. The hard part again is that if you simplify that piece, Czerneda has to be applauded for the dimensionality of the characters. They are not flat, surface characters. They are all well developed and interesting to read about throughout the story.
Lastly, goes back to a well thought out and intricate magic system. I loved how it was unique and again well explained so you don’t have the issue of readers lacking plausibility. This is a wonderfully set-up system that gets bogged down in technicalities like how many types of gossamer’s are there and what they are utilized for. That takes the fun out of it because it goes too far and bogs it down.
Czerneda has so many foundational parts down for a brilliant fantasy story with Gossamer Mage. However, everything that is done really well, often gets tripped up in becoming over complicated and clumsy. Simplify technicalities like the need for numerous character names/titles, number of gossamers and the abundance of research that muddies the plot, and you have a really promising story.