I got interested in this short series because of the title and cover of the first book. Yes, I’m that shallow. The title and cover evoked, in my mind, a mage who was secretly working to help people. Doing the right thing while in hiding. Sort of like Merlin from the modern BBC TV show, but without Prince Arthur (great show, by the way; it’s on Netflix Streaming, so go watch it).
I’m not sure why I bring that up now, considering that the actual book is nothing like that at all. In fact, the “innocent mage” the book is named after doesn’t actually discover his own magical abilities until well into the next book.
Generally, I enjoyed these two books… Up to the point where the villain finally shows up nearer the end. Through most of these books, we’re expertly presented with some fascinating characters. The author (Karen Miller) shockingly managed to hold my interest and enjoyment throughout the lengthy exposition of these characters and this world.
Then the villain shows up, and suddenly everyone turns into complete and utter morons. People act radically out of character, and no one seems willing to fight for what they believe in until the absolute last millisecond, when they no longer have any choice.
I really enjoyed these two books up until the bad guy shows up in book two. Almost everything that happens after that is crap.