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MageSign Paperback – April 23, 2010
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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"if you are after a well written, enthralling read, that doesn't let up with the surprises and impact, then look no further. Alan Baxter once again delivers an excellent novel, full recommendation on this one." - Scary Minds
"The descriptive phrasing is chilling and graphic.
MageSign is a thriller, a mystery, a love story and a thought-provoking examination of the relationship between religion and humanity in all its glory and shame. Alan Baxter takes the reader right to the edge and then pushes us over. And I thank him for it." - Bitten By Books
"...difficult to pin to any particular genre ... fantastic qualities ... horrific at times. "MageSign" is a great addition by Alan Baxter, and I highly recommend it." - William Estep, clubreading.com
"a fast paced supernatural adventure that will leave readers rethinking how they view the Cosmos." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Baxter builds on his protagonist from RealmShift, but you don't need to have read it to enjoy MageSign. The relationships that are built, both natural and supernatural, are really intriguing, and I found myself totally satisfied at the last page - even despite a reference to a shopping centre local to me as a "mall" rather than it's rightful "plaza" ;-)
I can't help thinking that the world Baxter creates here would sit nicely alongside Gaiman's American Gods. And I can't wait to read his next book. If you haven't read MageSign, and you don't mind having your ideas about religion and faith challenged, sink your teeth into this. You won't regret it.
Three years after his run in with the loathsome blood mage Samuel Harrigan, Isiah attempts to track down Harrigan’s mentor. But he soon discovers that the evil Sorcerer has more disciples and a plan far more disturbing than Isiah imagined. With the help of some new friends, Isiah attempts to destroy the Sorcerer and his blood cult before they unleash the ultimate evil on the world.
Magesign took a few pages to get going but once it did, I couldn't put it down. Baxter again fills his world with intriguing characters and challenges his readers to think about what they believe. The story is told from multiple points of view and Baxter skilfully takes these threads and weaves them into a masterfully-paced narrative that builds to a mind-blowing conclusion.
Fans of dark fantasy and horror not already acquainted with Alan Baxter’s work would do well to have a look at this tightly written duology. While Magesign stands alone, it is definitely best enjoyed when read after Realmshift (The Balance #1). Highly recommended.
One of the nice things about social networking is being able to interact with authors, talk about their work, or indeed just chat about life in general. The downside to building a connection(however superficial) with a writer, is that when you come to review their work, it can make your job as a reviewer much harder.
I was not really a fan of Alan Baxter's first novel RealmShift and I had concerns that I might have similar issues with MageSign.
I am happy to report that I found MageSign to be a far better reading experience and in my humble opinion a far better constructed tale.
The Tale Continues...
MageSign picks up three years after the events in RealmShift. Isiah our all powerful immortal protagonist is tracking down the sorcerer who trained the despicable Samuel Harrigan in RealmShift.
Usually backed up by the mysterious entity called `The Balance', Isiah is left to go it alone in MageSign. Neither helped nor hindered, Isiah sets out to track down the sorcerer and discovers a deadly cult set on world domination through the use of blood magic. He finds love, danger and death along the way.
A slow start
Initially I had misgivings, while I felt the writing was a little more engaging, the prose was still too florid for my tastes. The language was evocative and I could see that Baxter was trying to establish a certain mood but it felt to me that he was laying on the atmosphere too heavily - to the detriment of pacing.
MageSign is a sequel and like a lot of authors there's some exposition used to bring those readers who haven't read RealmShift up to date. Always hard to achieve without annoying readers who have read the previous work, these sections grated with me and felt a little clunky.
Like flipping a switch
My feeling and my enjoyment changed immediately when Baxter introduced the character of Faith. It was almost as if a switch had been flipped. The writing was less florid and more honest and it seemed from this point on that Baxter had found a groove, a balance to his story telling. There was only one further instance here I felt jolted from the story- when Faith has an internal monologue ranting against modern society(the cynicism was a little too refined for her 15 year old character) and that like RealmShift the author's voice was intruding on the character's. It's all well and good to make social comment but I think the comment needed to be subtler. Despite these two minor instances though I was in the grip of the novel.
Danger, Death and Love
One of the major issues I had with Realmshift was that I didn't connect with Isiah, he was all powerful, I never felt that he or anything important to him was at risk. Baxter certainly changed that with MageSign . First, Isiah is in the dark for much of the story, `The Balance' is of no help to him and he goes it alone and subsequently the reader is swept up in the mystery, that Isiah attempts to unravel. Isiah also gets a love interest with its requisite sexual tension, innuendo and witty banter. The Archangel Gabriel features more strongly in MageSign and the reader gets a much better sense of the relationship that Isiah and he share. Finally, and without wanting to spoil it for the rest of you, there's an unexpected twist that will have you racing through chapters to find out what had happened to one of the main characters.
Best is yet to come
MageSign is a much better book than RealmShift . I felt that Alan Baxter really began to hit his straps in this book. It's not perfect by any means, but there were glimpses of some really good, economical and engaging writing. I'll be watching Alan's writing with continued interest as I think his best work is ahead of him.
This eBook was provided by the author at no cost to myself.
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MageSign by Alan Baxter is the second volume in a duology that began with Baxter's RealmShift.Read more