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The Blacksmith's Son (Mageborn Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Michael G. Manning
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (753 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mordecai’s simple life as the son of a blacksmith is transformed by the discovery of his magical birthright. As he journeys to understand the power within him he is drawn into a dangerous plot to destroy the Duke of Lancaster and undermine the Kingdom of Lothion. Love and treachery combine to embroil him in events he was never prepared to face. What he uncovers will change his understanding of the past, and alter the future of those around him.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Manning, a practicing pharmacist, has been a fantasy and science-fiction reader for most of his life. He has dabbled in software design, fantasy art, and is an avid tree climber. He lives in Texas, with his stubborn wife, two kids, and a menagerie of fantastic creatures, including a moose-poodle, a vicious yorkie, and a giant prehistoric turtle.

Product Details

  • File Size: 419 KB
  • Print Length: 398 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463684347
  • Publisher: Gwalchmai Press; 1 edition (July 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005A1JBB8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
306 of 320 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, Solid Fantasy July 26, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At first, I was somewhat worried about reading this novel; the synopsis is pretty brief, and many of the other reviews at the time (shortly after publication) were short, "this is the only review I've written" types that I always assume are shills. At less than a buck though, I was willing to take a risk, and was pleasantly surprised. Manning's produced a novel that is an example of good, traditional fantasy. The writing is consistently fun and vivid, the pacing quick while still filling in the necessary detail, the dialogue scans well, and you can both believe in and empathize with the characters. The plot is also pretty decent; Mordecai, the protagonist, is the sole survivor of line of mages and nobles killed by assassins. Eventually his own magical powers develop, and over the period of a couple weeks he gets up to deeds of daring-do, somewhat predictably saving himself, friends and family in the process. While there isn't anything particularly inspired or new in Manning's magical system, plot, or worldbuilding, this is as good as most traditionally published fantasy novels and is well edited. Overall, a very solid effort, and well worth the price. I'd recommend this book to fantasy readers in general, and will read the sequel.
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165 of 200 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong setting, good plot, weak characters July 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
(NOTE: This review has been edited - I've marked the major edit, and I've fixed a couple of "idiot errors")
Mr. Manning has a very solid instinct about how to tell a story. Good narrative drive to draw the reader forward. I'm very pleased that the plot is human sized - it isn't about the destruction of the universe, fated destiny etc. It is about a morally weak individual and those who oppose him. I find that human scale to be somewhat rare in fantasy literature. I also like the way that Manning unveils the story; the details he lays out early and those which he saves for later.

The novel has some weak spots; (EDIT: Originally I said I wouldn't pay full price for this. The next three books I purchased cost more than this book and weren't as good. I probably still wouldn't pay hardback prices for Mageborn, but I would probably pay more for this book than I did.)
* The romance and sex plots depict a pretty contemptible image of manhood and masculinity. I understand that sometimes men are bad. But I shouldn't walk away from a novel embarrassed to be a man. The villain is a rapist. Penelope's seduction technique is effectively rape. There are counterexamples. Count DiCameron and his wife or Duke Lancaster and his wife. They're in the background and the foreground characters made me feel uncomfortable. Worst of all, the sex, rape and romance didn't contribute to the story. It diminished the entertainment value. I may be unduly harsh; I just know that the negative impressions of gender and sexuality had a stronger impression on me than the good impressions.
* The evil character is a one dimensional proxy for external forces of evil; quite sad, because he had serious potential to be a sympathetic villain.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It feels like a work-in-progress August 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First off, I do enjoy the overall plot of the book. I find the characters generally likable and strong. Manning definitely has talent in the story department. However, this book's downfall is the way in which he writes. Quite often the characters will use terms and phrases appropriate for the time period, but every once in a while a modern phrase comes along such as "out of whack" which really shatters the illusion for me.

I felt like the author couldn't decide what kind of period the dialogue should take place in. Another problem I have with the book is the fact that the book is written in first person for the main character, but when it switches to another scene in which the main character is not present, it transitions into third person. Towards the end of the book there is hardly any segue between the two. One paragraph you'll be reading from third person and in the immediate next paragraph it's first person again.

Another problem I had was with the main character. He will often offer commentary on his own dialogue in his head, usually in a self-deprecating manner. Much like the Dresden series. However, he does it far too often. Nearly every time someone catches him off guard with a question and he answers with anything less than a witticism, he ironically muses about how intelligent/clever/good with words he is. It's not a problem in itself, but the frequency with which it occurs feels a little lazy.

Lastly, the book feels too rushed in some areas. (Minor spoilers) for instance, there is a romantic connection between two characters that develops entirely too quickly. It moves from friendship to a marriage proposal all within a single chapter. It was almost like watching a movie on fast forward.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you're writing a book, why not take your time with it? September 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The most disappointing thing about this book is that it had the potential to be a really fantastic book. The plot in the book is fairly interesting, but the reader is rushed through it very quickly. We are told things and expected to believe in them instead of having these things developed or even explained. We go from having Mordecai suddenly developing magical powers to him being able to save a castle in a very short period of time. Even though one of the prologues by Marcus the Heretic states that those with power often destroy themselves, Mordecai not only has an inordinate amount of power, but can also teach himself and create new uses for the power (his flashbangs) with no help but a book. He apparently has enough control and mastery of his power that he can also heal himself, which, again, Marcus the Heretic states is very difficult and done by very few. These things might be believable had we been given enough time to see Mordecai actually have to struggle to learn these things, but instead we are expected to believe that he is just *that* good.

We also have no back story where it would have helped create a wonderful world as well as give the characters depth. The biggest failure in this point is Devon. He is just there as this evil person, who apparently just happened to go into league with the evil god that killed Mordecai's family. There is no explanation for him or his powers. There's also no explanation for how he came to come in league with this evil god. There's just no explanation at all, which is another problem with the book:

The plot also relies heavily on coincidence and the motivations that drive a character's actions are inconsistent at best and left utterly unexplained at worst.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great series
Loved this book . Some characters are immature which is annoying but they are young. Where I like stronger female role models. The story is exellent with great twists to the plot. Read more
Published 3 days ago by usnursennz
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I had not read any of this authors books. Wow I am glad I found this one. This story is a fantastic fantasy tale with subtle hints of horror. Read more
Published 6 days ago by cmrj72
2.0 out of 5 stars Subpar Fantasy
I read this book a day after finishing Kingkiller: The Name of the Wind, and a few weeks after finishing the Mistborn series. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Elena
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent generic fantasy ruined by idiotic characters
I read this as a part of the FIERCE collection. Personally, I think it started off reasonably well, but the trope of story tension coming from characters acting like idiots didn't... Read more
Published 17 days ago by J. Birzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This is my second reading of this book and I still find myself laughing and crying out loud. I can not express how entertaining this series is. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Glen Bair
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good book, the story goes at a good pace, and action packed
Published 23 days ago by Shawn Burdette
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book
Published 1 month ago by Joshua LeBarre
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book especially for his first ever written it keeps ...
Fantastic book especially for his first ever written it keeps you reading I downloaded this book on a whim and was very impressed
Published 1 month ago by christopher j mccoy
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read
I read this book not knowing that there were many more in the series, and, in fact, had just finished one three or so books ago. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read
It was a page turner and interesting enough that I will see where the series goes. Just a quick dislike, Some characters advanced out of nowhere while others did things out of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Karen
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More About the Author

Michael Manning was born in Cleveland, Texas and spent his formative years there, reading fantasy and science fiction, concocting home grown experiments in his backyard, and generally avoiding schoolwork.

Eventually he went to college, starting at Sam Houston State University, where his love of beer blossomed and his obsession with playing role-playing games led him to what he calls 'his best year ever' and what most of his family calls 'the lost year'.

Several years and a few crappy jobs later, he decided to pursue college again and was somehow accepted into the University of Houston Honors program (we won't get into the particulars of that miracle). This led to a degree in pharmacy and it followed from there that he wound up with a license to practice said profession.

Unfortunately, Michael was not a very good pharmacist. Being relatively lawless and free spirited were not particularly good traits to possess in a career focused on perfection, patient safety, and the letter-of-the-law. Nevertheless, he persisted and after a stint as a hospital pharmacy manager wound up as a pharmacist working in correctional managed care for the State of Texas.

He gave drugs to prisoners.

After a year or two at UTMB he became bored and taught himself entirely too much about networking, programming, and database design and administration. At first his supervisors warned him (repeatedly) to do his assigned tasks and stop designing programs to help his coworkers do theirs, but eventually they gave up and just let him do whatever he liked since it seemed to be generally working out well for them.

Ten or eleven years later and he got bored with that too. So he wrote a book. We won't talk about where he was when he wrote 'The Blacksmith's Son', but let's just assume he was probably supposed to be doing something else at the time.

Some people liked the book and told other people. Now they won't leave him alone.

After another year or two, he decided to just give up and stop pretending to be a pharmacist/programmer, much to the chagrin of his mother (who had only ever wanted him to grow up to be a doctor and had finally become content with the fact that he had settled on pharmacy instead).

Michael's wife supported his decision, even as she stubbornly refused to believe he would make any money at it. It turned out later that she was just telling him this because she knew that nothing made Michael more contrary than his never ending desire to prove her wrong. Once he was able to prove said fact she promptly admitted her tricky ruse and he has since given up on trying to win.

Today he lives at home with his stubborn wife, teenage twins, a giant moose-poodle, two yorkies, a green-cheeked conure, a massive prehistoric tortoise, and a head full of imaginary people. There are also some fish, but he refuses to talk about them.

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