Originally posted on another site on 11 April 2010.
MageSign by Alan Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Being the second book in a set, I expect more from the story and the author…and I got both.
We return to Isiah three years later. Nothing much is happening in his life, so he decides to check out something that had been bothering him since the death of his old enemy, Samuel Harrigan. What starts out as a simple errand type job, becomes a nightmare filled with gods, sorcerers, demons, witches and a ninja type figure that proves quite a distraction.
I was pleased to revisit the setting and find familiar faces, I was even more pleased to discover that the author’s writing style has improved tenfold. MageSign isn’t a “shoot ’em up” storyline like the first book (which, I should add, was fast paced and kept the pages turning), but a more realistic storyline with more suspense and tension (even a touch of sexual tension, which was unexpected). And…where Realmshift had a complicated religious thread which slowed the story down, MageSign doesn’t have that problem. I found the flow to be almost seamless, which means I could get into the story and stand right beside the characters and stay there. I find this experience improves everything about reading – my enjoyment triples and my reading time becomes more involved and less fidgety too.
MageSign is slower paced, but that doesn’t mean the story is lacking, because it isn’t. The suspense builds to such a degree that you can almost feel the pressure accumulating within Isiah when he finally faces the antagonists of the story. This tension is what forces the reader to keep turning the pages. It’s not only essential to find out what’s going to happen next, it is of the utmost importance to witness the final battle between good and evil — because, as I saw on a TV show recently, “Evil triumphs, when good men do nothing”. When I saw that phrase, it made me think of MageSign.
Truly a good story, written with a strong voice. Highly recommended.