The Gossamer Mage

The Gossamer Mage

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic....

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Title:The Gossamer Mage
Author:Julie E. Czerneda
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Gossamer Mage Reviews

  • Beth Cato

    Read. Provided a blurb. Absolutely adored this book.

  • K.D.

    I am a huge, huge fan of Julie Czerneda. Her sci-fi stories are among the best I have ever read – the Webshifter stories of Esen in particular. Her forays into fantasy also captivate me. TURN OF LIGHT was a game-changer for me as a writer. It proved that audiences really do have a hunger for deep world-building with slowly, patiently, delicately revealed facets.

    There are plenty of summaries already, so let me highlight the things about GOSSAMER MAGE that delighted me the most.

  • Bob

    A little over six years ago, Julie E. Czerneda made the transition from science fiction to epic fantasy with A Turn of Light. It was a book that stood apart from the grimdark movement as something bright and vibrant. It was a happier sort of story, one with a deep mythology, an epic sort of pastoral world-building, and a traditional take on magic.

    The Gossamer Mage marks an entirely new foray into realms of fantasy, and while it still has a sense of magic and wonder, Tananen is defini

    A little over six years ago, Julie E. Czerneda made the transition from science fiction to epic fantasy with A Turn of Light. It was a book that stood apart from the grimdark movement as something bright and vibrant. It was a happier sort of story, one with a deep mythology, an epic sort of pastoral world-building, and a traditional take on magic.

    The Gossamer Mage marks an entirely new foray into realms of fantasy, and while it still has a sense of magic and wonder, Tananen is definitely more grimdark than Marrowdell. This is a story of loss, of sorrow, and of sacrifice . . . set in a world where magic demands a toll . . . with a Mage of the Deathless Goddess who seeks to break her hold and a Daughter who seeks to restore her voice.

    Czerneda has crafted a fascinating world with a simple, yet intriguing mythology that blends religious and secular authority through magic. It is magic with geographic limits and gender boundaries, which is curious in and of itself, but it is the gossamer of the title that is key to the entire book.

    This is a book that has the feel of something mythic or legendary. Not only is it heavier in tone than the stories of Marrowdell, but it is a heavier read as well, its language and style demanding both patience and attention from the reader. The Gossamer Mage is very much like Czerneda's science fiction, in that it's not a story to be breezed through or glossed over - not if you want to take anything significant away from it. Personally, I found it best digested one long chapter at a time, leaving me time to think about what happened, and to consider what it all means. It's worth the time, especially as you start making connections between themes and ideas in the final third, but you need to be patient before that appreciation sets in.

    Maleonarial (Mage) and Kaitealyon (Daughter) are the two primary characters here, with the story told largely from their points of view. I liked both immensely and thought their development from very different embodiment of the Deathless Goddess' influence on Tananen to human beings with personalities, motivations, emotions, and needs was exceptional. What started out as a story with a cold sort of mythological feel becomes warmer and deeper as the story moves forward, and their mutual respect lays the foundations for saving the land and altering the fabric of magic.

    While I didn't enjoy this as much as I did A Turn of Light or A Play of Shadow, I do think I appreciated it more, especially in considering the final pages and what they have to say about the themes of intent and sacrifice, and how they are so suggestive of conflicts and issues we face in the real world today. The very idea of a gossamer is wonderful, and the more you understand of what they are and why, the brighter hope shines through the darkness of the book.

  • Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)

    (rating: 3.5)

    When I saw the synopsis of this book I was IMMEDIATELY drawn in. I mean, magic through writing in a secret language? Magic that has a cost that is literally your life force? Rebelling against the system to kill a goddess?? I mean this is basically the best premise, what more could you ask for?

    After finishing the book, it’s funny that even though this book is exactly about what the premise promises, it’s still nothing like what I expected. I think I expected m

    (rating: 3.5)

    When I saw the synopsis of this book I was IMMEDIATELY drawn in. I mean, magic through writing in a secret language? Magic that has a cost that is literally your life force? Rebelling against the system to kill a goddess?? I mean this is basically the best premise, what more could you ask for?

    After finishing the book, it’s funny that even though this book is exactly about what the premise promises, it’s still nothing like what I expected. I think I expected more of an action/adventure story, whereas this books is more of a character and world exploration, and is on a much smaller scale than I thought (though it still does deal with the fate of the world).

    One thing I loved from the very beginning was the concept of magic in this universe. The mages are called “mage scribes” and use a forbidden language to write out magic. Just as important as the language, even more important perhaps, is the intent of the mage when he performs this magic. If the intent is not pure, a “gossamer” is formed. Gossamers are magical beings that are not harmful to humans, but playful and sometimes tricky. They have a life of their own. It was very interesting to have a system built so heavily on the intent/will of the person performing the magic rather than having it be some system based on just learning spells or potions or etc. It brings in such a human element to the magic, and by that I mean it naturally brings in the possibility for warped magical creations, mistakes, and consequences. It makes the magic feel more real to me.

    The world and story Czerneda created are beautiful and mythical. This feeling of reading a myth of legend is helped by the interludes between sections of the book that seem to give a hint at the history of the land. I almost wish those hadn’t been so vague, because though they added to the atmosphere I felt they didn’t add much to the actual story.

    I very much enjoyed the cast of characters, because we got to see so many different paths of life within this world. My two favorites are Maleonariel and Kaitealyn. Maleonariel is a mage scribe who is turned young again and is intent on destroying the Deathless Goddess so all can live free without having to pay the terrible price for magic (their own lives). Kaitealyon (Kait) is in service to the goddess as a hold daughter, who can hear the voice of the goddess and help carry out her will. It was super interesting to see how they are both given “Her Gift” (magic in some form) but practice it and serve the goddess in two very different ways. Other characters include Kait’s son, a boy with a strong gift, another mage student, a lady in charge of a major holding in the realm trying to figure out what evil is happening, and many more.

    I think it’s important to note that I did actually have a very very hard time getting in to this book at the beginning. The writing style was not what I’m used to at all. There were a lot of sentence fragments that for me threw off the flow of the story. There is also this interesting contradiction in the style where there is a lot of detail in describing the minutiae of each scene but at the same time, the overall picture of the story is very vague. In addition, we are following a cast of characters, and though the stories of each of them come together in the end, in the beginning we are following them individually. This wouldn’t be a problem except for we only get a small glimpse of each point of view before it switches to the next person. These things all made it hard for me to figure out what what happening. However, as I kept reading things became more clear as the storylines merged and I got used to the writing style.

    I think this book will be pretty hit or miss, based on the issues with the beginning. Some, like me, will keep going and end up loving it, and others will not get on with the style in the beginning and not enjoy it. To each their own!

    Thank you SO MUCH to DAW Books for sending me an ARC to review! I am so grateful.

  • Koeur

    Rating: 4.4/5

    I was not real exited to visit Czerneda’s world again based on a previous work

    that left me less than thrilled. As a fellow biologist I began this novel firmly in her corner with pompoms.

    This was not only surprising but just plain amazing. The prose, while stilted, adds a characters’ off tilt perspective on events as they unfold. Really unique approach to character development. Each story line wends and interesting way across the pages, diverging, then coal/>

    Rating: 4.4/5

    I was not real exited to visit Czerneda’s world again based on a previous work

    that left me less than thrilled. As a fellow biologist I began this novel firmly in her corner with pompoms.

    This was not only surprising but just plain amazing. The prose, while stilted, adds a characters’ off tilt perspective on events as they unfold. Really unique approach to character development. Each story line wends and interesting way across the pages, diverging, then coalescing once again to a patterned whole. This sinuosity is built upon a solid foundation of world building so that you know exactly where you are in relation to each characters experience.

    The minor downs of this novel were the limited quests that would have expanded the entirety of the world (denizens, geography, history, culture etc.). The movement is more inverted with expressive inner ruminations and lengthy dialogue. Not a bad thing, just different.

    The mage craft is interesting and somewhat unique. Where the pen, ink, and words are used on paper in this novel, Victor Gischler utilized ink and words on skin in the

    series 5-years ago. Although different manifestations arise from each use of these disparate magics, the similarities are too coincidental to dismiss. But like they say, there is nothing new under the Sun.

    This is a long novel that seeks to entertain through a character(s) ups and downs. Get it.

  • Calvin Park

    Standalone fantasy is a bit of a rarity. So often, whether because of Tolkien or other influences, we end up with trilogies or epic sagas spanning four or more books. I’m a huge fan of big epic series, but it’s also nice to enjoy a self-contained story from time to time.

    by Julie E. Czerneda scratches that itch perfectly. With world building that includes unique and engaging elements as well as an incredibly fascinating magic system, Czerneda’s novel is sure to please fantasy fans

    Standalone fantasy is a bit of a rarity. So often, whether because of Tolkien or other influences, we end up with trilogies or epic sagas spanning four or more books. I’m a huge fan of big epic series, but it’s also nice to enjoy a self-contained story from time to time.

    by Julie E. Czerneda scratches that itch perfectly. With world building that includes unique and engaging elements as well as an incredibly fascinating magic system, Czerneda’s novel is sure to please fantasy fans looking for a standalone read.

    Czerneda’s story is filled with amazingly unique world building elements. The magic system in this world involves mages paying life in order to create made-creations of various sorts that perform certain tasks or otherwise do their bidding. The story doesn’t hesitate to explore the impact this has on the world. Magic is expensive because doing it shortens the life of the mage. This also results in a number of very well-off, geriatric mages. It’s rare for fantasy to explore the implications of powerful magic-users as they begin to lose their memory, their physical abilities, or their restraint. Czerneda, on the other hand, does an excellent job of fleshing out the very real negative effects of aging on the mages themselves as well as on society as a whole. The magic was outstanding because it played such a role in the lives of the characters affected by it. Incredibly well done! The religious system and mythology of the world are also interesting and there’s actually a good bit crammed into this novel, though it never felt shoehorned in or like it was dumped on the reader. Each bit was well integrated and felt important to the story and world building necessary for the story to have the impact it did. As the plot ramps up after the initial introductions the stakes quickly become epic and Czerneda does a good job of keeping the tension high. Initially this is done through a number of questions and mysteries surrounding the goals of the antagonists, but this is all handled in fresh ways that kept me engaged throughout. I can’t say that this is a fast-paced novel, but it is very well paced and an enjoyable read that kept me reading and gave me that “just one more page” feeling. Part of this was helped along by the range of emotions the novel elicits. There were moments that made me smile, moments of joy but also moments of sadness and intense emotion. This emotional range made the story shine.

    In terms of criticisms, my main complaint with this novel is that the chapters are incredibly long, but in the midst of these we change perspectives back and forth between characters often. We might have a page from one character’s perspective, only to jump to a different character—in the same geographical area—for a few pages before jumping back to the first character before moving on to a character in a different location. I was never confused about which perspective I was reading, but to change perspective so often was a little jarring before I got used to it. The story also has a bit of a mythological feel to it and I never felt connected to a particular character. In the end, this didn’t end up as a huge negative. It almost felt like the characters were more legends than individuals. It’s a different writing style that perhaps isn’t as common in modern fantasy, but I think it turned out well here.

    I can’t say enough about the magic, religion, and story itself. A fine standalone tale, I imagine

    will be one I’ll return to often. A wonderful, hopeful fantasy, this is one you don’t want to miss.

    8.5/10

    4.25/5 stars.

    5 – I loved this, couldn’t put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile

    3 – It was ok, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time

    2 – I didn’t like this book, it has significant flaws and I can’t recommend it

    1 – I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing

  • Lindsay

    “The world was once barren.

    We were once alone.

    Magic, once, was lost.

    Now it will never be, for magic is again part of the world and us. And the stories we’ve yet to write, together.”

    In a world once full of magic, only one land remains untouched by the unspeakable evil intent on consuming the very magic of the world. Tananen, an isolated land separated from the rest of the world, is the one known place where magic still exists. The people of this land worship the Deathless Goddess,

    “The world was once barren.

    We were once alone.

    Magic, once, was lost.

    Now it will never be, for magic is again part of the world and us. And the stories we’ve yet to write, together.”

    In a world once full of magic, only one land remains untouched by the unspeakable evil intent on consuming the very magic of the world. Tananen, an isolated land separated from the rest of the world, is the one known place where magic still exists. The people of this land worship the Deathless Goddess, whose words form the basis of magic. Mage scribes learn the language of the goddess and are taught to give form, intent, and purpose to these words that they might summon physical manifestations of magic. However, magic comes at a terrible cost. The Deathless Goddess exacts a high toll on those who would create, for with each intention evoked mages age according to their works. The more magic one uses, the faster they die. Maleonarial, one of Tananen’s most renowned mages is intent on ending the toll on magic, actively seeking a way to destroy Her. What he comes to realize is that She is the only thing keeping magic alive and that greater forces of evil are gathering to snuff out the magic of Tananen once and for all.

    This story has one of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever come across. The author does an excellent job creating a system with rules, boundaries, and consequences, all which serve to enhance the plot, character motivations, and the crafted world. All of these aspects tie together so well as the central magic system lends credence to how this world behaves when dependent on the limits of what magic can accomplish. The amount of detail spent describing the consequences of evoking magic recklessly and how perspectives change with time as mages come to better understand what magic truly costs was magical in itself.

    The only thing I did not care for with The Gossamer Mage is the writing style. I’m unsure if this is Julie Czerneda’s style across all her books or if this was adopted for this particular story, but it straight up drove me nuts. The splintered sentences and short, clipped phrases didn’t seem to match the flowing tone of the story (which is really ironic given that the basis of the magic comes from writing with smooth, intended phrases). This, this story required a level of focus and attention I couldn’t muster, which really took me out of the story repeatedly. I probably would have given this book five stars if I didn’t hate the writing style so much.

  • Shelley

    *Source* Publisher

    *Genre* Fantasy

    *Rating* 3.0

    *Thoughts*

    The Gossamer Mage, by author Julie E. Czerneda, is a story that takes place in a fantasy land called Tananen. The world’s only remaining magic is in Tananen, where only women can speak the Deathless Goddess language, and only men can write her spells – both at a terrible cost. But now something dangerous and dark has come into Tiler’s Hold, destroying magic creations, and silencing the Goddess. Meanwhile,

    *Source* Publisher

    *Genre* Fantasy

    *Rating* 3.0

    *Thoughts*

    The Gossamer Mage, by author Julie E. Czerneda, is a story that takes place in a fantasy land called Tananen. The world’s only remaining magic is in Tananen, where only women can speak the Deathless Goddess language, and only men can write her spells – both at a terrible cost. But now something dangerous and dark has come into Tiler’s Hold, destroying magic creations, and silencing the Goddess. Meanwhile, there is a mage on a mission to destroy said Goddess not knowing that with her death, an even larger threat may rise.

    *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

  • Lauren James  (storied.adventures)

    Full review on my blog,

    !

    *I received a copy from the publisher as well as an e-arc from NetGalley for an honest review.*

    This was actually really hard for me to get through. I loved the plot and characters and the uniqueness of the story, BUT the writing was really hard, for me personally, to read. It was choppy and and I had to re-read sentences and paragraphs to understand what was going on. It's not a very long book but it took me almost a month to read. That n

    Full review on my blog,

    !

    *I received a copy from the publisher as well as an e-arc from NetGalley for an honest review.*

    This was actually really hard for me to get through. I loved the plot and characters and the uniqueness of the story, BUT the writing was really hard, for me personally, to read. It was choppy and and I had to re-read sentences and paragraphs to understand what was going on. It's not a very long book but it took me almost a month to read. That never happens for me!

    If you are interested in an extremely unique book that will definitely be unlike anything you've ever read, with writing that's very VERY different, then you might like this!

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    This is such a sad update for me to write. This was one of my more anticipated releases of the year, and I went into it with such high hopes, I honestly couldn't have fathomed hating it. The premise is incredible — especially considering I'm a massive sucker for any story in which Death is a character, rather than simply a state of being — but it was absolutely ruined for me by the stylistic choices in writing.

    On one hand, Czerneda's writing is so immensely detailed that I kept finding myself b

    This is such a sad update for me to write. This was one of my more anticipated releases of the year, and I went into it with such high hopes, I honestly couldn't have fathomed hating it. The premise is incredible — especially considering I'm a massive sucker for any story in which Death is a character, rather than simply a state of being — but it was absolutely ruined for me by the stylistic choices in writing.

    On one hand, Czerneda's writing is so immensely detailed that I kept finding myself bogged down by minutiae, which is a strange complaint to have considering my other biggest complaint: everything is so incredibly

    I felt lost from the first page and it never improved. I typically would keep going to the end in a case like this, because usually, I think it's not the author's fault if I'm confused, but looking at other reviews is telling me that this is a massive issue for nearly every Goodreads user who's written a review for this book so far, regardless of whether or not they completed the book.

    Among these larger issues, a few other minor complaints I had: the names are nearly impossible to keep up with, the narrative frequently breaks into paragraphs full of sentence fragments for no reason, and despite there being so many different perspectives, each POV character's "voice" feels identical to the last.

    Again, this makes me so sad, because I had such high hopes, but I don't have anything positive to say about this book beyond its most base premises, and I won't be reaching for anything else by this author any time soon.

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