Book Review & Blog Tour: Mageborn by Jessica Thorne (eARC)

Happy Sunday book friends! Today I am one of the tour stops for Mageborn by Jessica Thorne, which is hosted by the fantastic Bookouture team! Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers taking part!


Author: Jessica Thorne

Publication Date: 18 February 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction – Fantasy

Pages: 303

Publisher: Bookouture

The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.

Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.

The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.

Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just, but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.

Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…

A dark and addictive fantasy read, perfect for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas.

Grace Marchant is an orphan who was sold to the crown to be trained as an elite soldier to track down and arrest criminal Mageborn (those born with forbidden magical abilities) and deliver them to the crown to face punishment. The Mageborn who submit to the crown are collared and handed over to the King’s cousin, Bastien Larelwynn, the infamous Prince of Thorns.

Grace has never questioned her loyalty to the crown until a member of her team (Kai) has his fate decided by Bastien after Kai’s magic engulfs him while trying to pursue a criminal Mageborn. Grace wants nothing to do with Bastien, but when the dying king asks her to protect him, she is forced to work side by side with the Prince of Thorns.

Mageborn starts off with a bang when we are thrown into a scene where Grace and Kai are trying to apprehend a criminal Mageborn who ends up being much more powerful than either had anticipated. It is clear from the beginning that Grace also possess magical abilities even though it has been assumed her powers were removed. This sets up an internal struggle within her that I appreciated.

The worldbuilding in Mageborn was fascinating, but I felt that it didn’t go quite as in depth as I would’ve wanted. I definitely felt like the worldbuilding was a mash up of Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunters sprinkled with Underworld’s imprisoned lycans, which immediately grabbed my attention.

While this book is touted as a dark fantasy, I would classify is more as a romance first with the magical elements taking a backseat to the plot. I think true fantasy fans will want more magic versus the rushed romance angle, but I did end up enjoying both Grace and Bastien by the end.

Overall, I think this is a good start to the Hollow King series, and I am interested to see how the adventure continues.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Get your copy of Mageborn here!

Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.

Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.

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