I’m really excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Bright Steel by Miles Cameron! This is the third and final book in the Master & Mages trilogy. I would tell you what this book is about but then we’d be headed into major spoiler territory, so I’ll just tell you about book one instead!
Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a passing stage coach into the deep snow at the side of the road. And none of them are drawn into a fight to protect her.
One of the others might have realised she was manipulating him all along . . .
A powerful story about beginnings, coming of age, and the way choosing to take one step towards violence can lead to a slippery and dangerous slope, this is an accomplished fantasy series driven by strong characters and fast-paced action.
I don’t know what kind of person this makes me, but I love a fantasy book with a main character who has no idea what they’re doing when things go wrong. We learn as they learn, and there’s something very satisfying about that.
Aranthur is just that character. He is an ordinary person living an ordinary life (if that’s even possible in a fantasy world), until some trouble one night sends his whole world into chaos. He’s not the smartest, or the most skilled, but being at that place in time makes him the hero of this story.
It’s all about how heroes are made, and I love that in this trilogy we’re focusing on a character that was never fully equipped for that life. It just makes it so interesting to see how he approaches these dangerous situations and grows throughout the books.
I feel like the best character development happens in books like this, when a character starts out knowing nothing and somehow has to rise to the challenge and change the world. You really find out what they’re made of when their knowledge and skills are put to the test.
I love that Aranthur is flawed in a very relatable way, so it’s easy to like and root for him to succeed. Plus, he’s just tries to be a nice guy which I think makes him very different for a lot of fantasy heroes out there.
This is also a coming of age story, and it’s really interesting to see Aranthur trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be alongside all these other events. He’s still discovering himself which means he’s already going through a lot, and he makes a lot of questionable decisions while trying to figure it all out. He’s not some all-good saint or a straight up demon, but he’s somewhere in between just like I’m sure all of us are. And I love seeing that represented in a fantasy world.
If you like character-driven fantasy, then I think you may really enjoy the Masters & Mages trilogy!
If you want to know more about this series, be sure to check out the other stops on the tour! There are some amazing bloggers involved and I’m sure they’ve come up with some great posts!
Finally, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the team at Gollancz for being so kind and sending me the whole trilogy and inviting me to join the tour.
ARE YOU PLANNING ON PICKING UP THIS BOOK? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!
I hope you’re all having an amazing day!