Mage In Black picks up right where Red-Headed Stepchild left off. Sabina Kane, recently estranged from her vampire family, is traveling to meet the twin sister she never knew existed, who happens to be the figurehead for the mage race. On the road with Sabina are Giguhl, her demon familiar, and Adam, a mage sent to find and escort her back to the mage capital of New York City.
After a pack of vengeful vampires attacks her in the middle of the country, she finally makes it to New York where she is immediately thrust into the mage life and her sister’s world, where she is absolutely alone. Throughout her stay in the Big Apple, she has run-ins with werewolves, a ‘Demon Fight Club’, and an old flame from the past. Surrounded by political struggle and a mess of things that are out of her control, Sabina must find a way to cope with all that’s happening around her.
Fast-Paced and Kick-Ass
This is an incredibly fast-paced and exciting novel that I devoured in a day. The characters are interesting and the plot just keeps throwing out twists for Sabina and her crew to face. Sabina Kane isn’t the type of woman to roll with the punches—when someone punches her, she punches right back, most of the time maiming – if not killing – the person who annoyed her. She’s willing to bend to an extent, but only for the people she cares about.
In Red-Headed Stepchild, we got a glimpse into the personal life of Sabina—she didn’t have any romantic attachments, instead sleeping with the occasional guy to fulfill her need for sexual company. Adam lit a bit of a spark in her, but it was nothing serious in Sabina’s eyes. In The Mage In Black, she’s torn between two men: Adam, who she finally realizes that she has intense feelings for, and Slade, her partner-turned-rogue from her past.
The romance is handled very well in this novel. It’s an undercurrent throughout the entire novel, never taking precedence, which makes sense considering all that Sabina has been through in her life. She has so many trust issues that overcoming them shouldn’t be an easy thing, and I’m glad that Jaye Wells didn’t take the easy route of giving her an instant romance, but instead continues Sabina’s romantic struggles through the book.
Finding out that you’re the daughter of a hero-mage and the sister of the head of the mage race can be pretty daunting, and even Sabina Kane balks at the thought of all that awaits her. The politics and the interpersonal relationships between characters involved are masterfully delivered. Most urban fantasy rarely takes into account the fact that while their novels are supernatural in essence, they still have to play by the rules of the real world, and I felt that the way Jaye Wells handled the politics in The Mage In Black was fantastic and real.
A lack of passion
I never became terribly invested in this novel. There were exciting and interesting parts, but I never felt the same passion for Sabina Kane that I did in the previous volume. I felt like an outsider looking into her life, and I had absolutely no investment in how things turned out for her—and that’s really disappointing when reading a novel. I want to be able to feel for the character and get upset and happy when things happen to her, but that just didn’t come through for me in this book.
Why should you read this book?
If you enjoyed the first installment, then you definitely won’t be disappointed with this one. I daresay that it’s a little bit better, with the mistakes I found in the first novel being cleared up well in the sequel. It’s not remarkable, but it is a fun read that will entertain you for a day or two. I look forward to reading the sequel.