Destiny in one hand. Doom in the other. Which will destroy him first?
Artificers are the gilded princes of the Iron Empire. Mages are violent criminal outcasts. Devin competes to become the best artificer in the empire . . . but he’s secretly a mage.
Devin, a young skilled apprentice, dreams of becoming the master of his craft if he can only resist the sinuous allure of magic. His secret grows heavier as he claws his way to the top of his competitive, cutthroat guild. Friends and rivals start taking notice when Devin glorifies in the persona of the dragon and builds mechanical armor to match. He’s also started hearing voices in his head: the stout words of the being he calls ‘the artificer’ and the sly, oily voice of ‘the mage.’ How long can Devin be satisfied with fake dragon armor when the promise of true arcane power whispers in his ear?
Embark on Devin’s dark, epic journey in Book One of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.
Sales Link: https://www.books2read.com/rotten-magic
Jeffrey Bardwell writes fantasy with elements of epic darkness, steampunk, and romance set in the Metal vs. Magic Universe. His character-driven books are guaranteed to include gritty realism, political intrigue, lurid entanglements, dry wit, and dragons in differing proportions. He devours fantasy and science fiction novels and is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove. When not writing, Jeffrey enjoys cooking, gardening, and shooing baby dragons from the compost bin.
The author lives on a farm and in a prior life worked as a community ecologist. He is overfond of puns and alliterations. He is also an unabashed history and mythology enthusiast and would love to hear from you.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B071RXS994
Bookbub Author Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jeffrey-bardwell
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SPLITTING SUBGENRE HAIRS
Rotten Magic, Book 1 of The Artifice Mage Saga, would fit the ‘magic school’ trope made famous by the likes of the Harry Potter series except that Devin already knows he’s a mage, the school is a guild apprenticeship, and he goes there to learn about machines, not magic. It’s also a dark epic rather than an urban fantasy. On the topic of genres, I feel I must address the young adult issue. There are no sex scenes in this book, strong violence is off screen as it were, and the cursing is of the mild epithet variety (I drew inspiration from classic second world fantasies.) The story is as a friend of mine would describe it, clean fantasy, a term I did not know existed until she enlightened me. However, I did not write it specifically for the young adult market, but rather for a widespread general adult audience.
I meant for this book to be enjoyed by everyone who appreciates a good epic fantasy yarn. I suppose my objection to the phrase ‘young adult’ is semantic. I dislike labeling something solely on the basis of the age of the protagonist in the first book, thus I must take a quick peek at the rest of the series to see if it maintains that clean rating. 1) Do subsequent books break from the first when the protagonist reaches maturity? 2) Do themes of sensuality, genocide, torture, and brainwashing disqualify it? 3) Does accessibility by a young adult audience preclude adults enjoying the story? No, apparently not. The Belgariad, The Avatar, and The Ender series are YA second world fantasies (and one space fantasy) that check all three boxes.
This novel has been described as a dark version of Ender’s Game with explosions, and the themes within it are certainly no darker that those found in Avatar: The Last Airbender (the TV series), which handles adult issues tastefully. Both target a YA/teen demographic, but are enjoyed by all ages. Parsing young adult versus new adult versus adult subgenres gives me a headache. Telling someone they can’t read a book due to their age because the scenes or themes are too mature irks me and smacks of book banning. I won’t do it, and this novel goes to some horrific places. However, I believe the worst problem a young adult reader (and perhaps a few adult readers) may have had with this book was running to a dictionary from time to time.
I’m told I write in a lyrical prose style with engaging human characters and beautiful imagery, but that there are a few gargantuan words tucked away in my books. I didn’t set out to enrich the vocabulary of my readers, that’s just the nature my author voice. Removing those words would be denying a part of myself. If you enjoyed a thrilling fantasy tale and learned some new words in the bargain, I’m all for that. I will go to the wall for that. Words are awesome.