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Summary

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet.

Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known. But Aram is more.

Much, much more.

Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.

Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.

©2021 ML Spencer (P)2021 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Dragon Mage

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Brutal Irish Accent

I enjoyed the story and have high hopes for the next book if there is one.

The narrator mispronounced quite a few words which had me giving the phone a dirty look. The Irish accent was abysmal.

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Dragon mage

This book is a great take on the epic fantasy type of book it was a captavating read and an enjoyable listen definitely worth a listen

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Profile Image for Jedidiah
  • Jedidiah
  • 20-07-21

A wonderful and fresh take on classic fantasy

TLDR: I loved this story! The narration was great! And DRAGONS! Lots of dragons!

I read Dragon Mage earlier this year and loved it. I was thrilled to get early access to the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. This story is a fresh take on classic fantasy. It starts in a small fishing village with two young men, Aram and Markus, who set out into a world filled with loss, cruelty, and pain but also friendship, love, and DRAGONS. With a magic system based on tying knots of aether and a conflict that has been going on for centuries, this story moves at a cracking pace as swords are forged, battles are fought, and lessons are learned. But at the center of this fast-paced story is the friendship between Aram and Markus.

Ben Farrow’s narration really made Aram and Markus come alive for me. Our main character, Aram, is soft spoken, uncertain at times, and often confused in social situations and that really came through in the narration. Ben Farrow’s narration allows the listener to hear how Aram is feeling just from his voice. Sometimes, Aram’s voice is only slightly above a whisper and you can really feel how scared or overwhelmed he is at that moment. I love Aram! I have never encountered a fantasy protagonist quite like him and I could not get enough. His discomfort in social situations really resonated with me on a personal level and I think ML Spencer knocked it out of the park with his characterization. Ben Farrow’s narration simply cemented my love for Aram and my concern for him as he struggles with friends, enemies, magic, and his own self-esteem. Markus is loyal, steadfast, and the best friend you could have. He has a very frank and direct personality and through the pages and the narration, you can really sense his concern for Aram and his willingness to speak his mind when he feels Aram is overextending.

Another example of the amazing narration is the Exilari sorcerer, a major antagonist in the story, who is brought to life with a sniveling yet menacing voice that made me shiver every time I heard it. Seriously! That dude is creepy!

I recommend this book for the excellent story and Ben Farrow’s narration. ML Spencer has crafted an interesting and unique plot with great pacing and amazing world building that I think new and experienced fantasy fans will enjoy. Additionally, her characters, particularly Aram, are unforgettable and enhanced by Ben Farrow’s narration. Each character in this story has a distinct voice that is uniquely theirs and Ben Farrow is able to capture that through his excellent narration. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and I hope Ben Farrow can do the narration for the audiobook!

Did I mention that this book has dragons!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline Hannam
  • 20-07-21

Amazing! A must read for fantasy fans.

What a book!
I was hooked from the first page and hardly know what to write.
Dragon Mage has it all, dragons (my favourite fantasy creatures) a plenty, dragon riders, magic, excellent world building, epic battles, character progression and romance all woven together into one complex, but quite easy to follow tale.
I can’t believe any fantasy lover could dislike this novel.

All characters, including dragons, are well developed and have very real personalities, with their own quirks and the world they occupy is well thought out and vividly described. The magic system is amazing and features strongly in the action scenes. Talking of action: be prepared for breathtaking aerial battles and sword fights.
I also feel that the protagonist is not your typical hero and actually exhibits many traits of a person on the Autism spectrum, all be it a high-functioning one. I don’t know if this is intentional, but it seems like it to me, since a lot of the behaviour seems well researched.

Here is a little of how the story starts out, though I don’t reveal any of the ‘action’:

Aram Rayth is the main protagonist, is a young boy who doesn’t understand the world, and the people around him, he is different to them, he sees people’s aura as well as the ‘threads’ the world is made of in vivid colour.
Aram is awkward in company and takes everything that is said literal. His peers ridicule and bully him, leading him to withdraw further. He is a very lonely boy, who wants to fit in and desperately wants a friend. The one thing that brings him comfort and he is passionate about is tying knots, another thing that makes him different. He doesn’t yet know what a special talent that is.
He makes on friend Markus, who stands by him no matter what and also has a special talent he doesn’t know about. A travelling bard recognises how special Aram is and takes the two boys on as apprentices, which is where the adventure starts...

The narrator Ben Farrow has a voice made for this adventure and he gives every character a easily distinguished accent and timbre. His pronunciation is clear and concise and at a great pace.
I have one criticism, there are some words that can be pronounced differently depending on their context and he uses the wrong one, which I found irritating.
Right now I can only remember the most frequent one: bared – which means: uncovered or exposed (one sentence had something like “...tunic, which left the arms bared ...” and the emphasis of the word is on the ‘a’.
Ben continually pronounces it as barred, with the emphasis on a hard ‘r’.
Overall he does a fantastic job and I hope he narrates the future books in the Rivenworld series.

To sum up an amazing read and I am looking forward to reading or listening to the next books. And personally, I think these should become fantasy classics and a must read for any person, even mildly interested in fantasy.

I received this book in audio book format free from the author and am leaving this review of my own volition.

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  • Jan farnworth
  • 20-07-21

Adventurous tale

I enjoyed the joy ride of an adventure getting to know Marcus and Aram. Aram is a young boy obsessed with knots and is determined to stay on the path to work on boats; little does he know the power brewing inside him. Marcus is the supportive friend everyone wished they had. The relationship between the characters and dragons is a heart-tugging experience. The description about the places the boys came from and where they go in their journey as they come into what they are destined to become is a joy to listen to. Ben farrow is an exceptional narrator that made this long book a joy to listen to, and I could get lost in the story. Fantasy books hold a special place in my heart cause they can take you on a journey to places that only exist in your imagination. Dragon mage is that kind of epic story that blends world-building with exceptional character development. The audiobook is available in July.

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  • Robin Anthony
  • 20-07-21

Beautifully written. Epic fantasy at its finest.

The moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew that I would love it. I love books with dragons on them, and this novel by ML Spencer is definitely worth a read. It's one of those books that you'll surely get excited for the next book to be released. I love how the author made the introduction to the story and its characters. It made me care and look forward to how the story will go. I can totally relate to Aram in some ways which is a sign that this was beautifully written because I felt the connection with the character. The world-building and magic system was fantastic too! And don't forget the dragons! LOTS of them!

As for Ben Farrow, he did a great job narrating this book. He added life to the story and you can feel the emotions of every character. His voice perfectly suited everyone, especially Aram. I didn't notice how long the book was because I've enjoyed listening to Ben's voice. He's awesome!

I was lucky enough to be given an advanced audio review copy of Dragon Mage. I just wanna say thank you for this wonderful opportunity ML Spencer, and for writing this beautiful book. I highly recommend this to readers and audiobook listeners who love epic fantasy. I really don't mind if this series will grow into 5 to 8 books. :)

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  • Pam W
  • 20-07-21

Friendship endures when life is a struggle

I was blown away by reading this book, back in January, then lucky enough to receive an advance listening copy from the author. My five star review still stands for the content and adding five more stars for Ben Farrow's performance. He does an excellent job bringing the characters and atmosphere of the story to life.
If you want to introduce someone to fantasy, hoping they'll become a fantasy fan, then give this book to them. It's a beautiful coming of age story of undying friendship, as two boys endure unspeakable hardships, but faith in each other never falters.
Aram was a character that you couldn't help but love, but with that love for him, you find yourself weeping at times for the hand he's been dealt, but luckily you can also smile occasionally too. With Aram, you find yourself dipping a toe into the world of ASD, an enlightening experience in itself, that makes one think how we all see and comprehend our surroundings differently. Markus was the type of friend we all wish we had, always supportive with an everlasting sincerity to their relationship.
The dragons were another standout in this story, with compassion and a special bond to their rider that sometimes tugged at your heart.
The evil was truly evil, unrelenting that makes you pause at times, to get your emotions in order.
Magic is almost another character of the story, as it is the binder for the book. Some possess natural magical abilities able to weave it to a desired outcome, while others have to steal it. Heal or hinder, magic is a major player, in this exceptional story.
Dragon Mage was action, battles, scheming, unspeakable peril, magic, sorcerers, deception, triumph, sorrow, with good always fighting evil. One of the best books I've read and listened to this year.


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  • FanFiAddict
  • 20-07-21

A Masterful Tome

Dragon Mage is a masterful tome that harks back to classic high fantasy, but brings a distinctive voice to the genre that yearns to be heard. Spencer has weaved an epic story with, quite possibly, one of my favorite characters of all-time. This will easily crack my top 5 reads of 2021.

Starting off, this is the first novel of Spencer’s that I have ever cracked. Of course I had to start with the 832 page tome, but when the hardcover is as gorgeous as this one, it’s pretty hard to fight the urge to just dive straight in. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as I need to: AUTHORS! MAKE MORE CASE LAMINATE HARDCOVERS. READERS WILL THANK YOU!

Ok. Stepping off the soapbox now.

I was enthralled with this story from the beginning. Aram Raythe’s characterization completely floored me and now I wish I was his best friend (step aside, Marcus. Sorry not sorry). After speaking with ML and hearing how she channeled herself into Aram’s character, I just have absolutely no words. I know authors put themselves in the shoes of their characters more times than you can count, but this took it to a whole other level. Here is a quote I love so much from ML’s ‘How ASD Became My Superpower — Neurodivergence in Fiction’ article (which if you haven’t checked out Justin’s series, DO IT):

If it wasn’t for ASD, I don’t think I would be the fantasy writer that I am today. I wouldn’t trade being on the spectrum for anything. Having ASD is, I believe, my superpower. That’s why I wanted to write a main character who could experience the same struggles that I experienced, and yet could also be a powerful hero. I wanted to convey to other people with high-functioning ASD that being on the spectrum doesn’t have to hold you back from your dreams. It can be your true strength, and it doesn’t have to be a weakness. It can even be your superpower, just like it has always been mine. That’s why I wrote Dragon Mage and poured my heart and soul into it.

I really could talk about Aram all day…

From an intriguing magic system involving the tying and breaking of knots to an insanely imaginative world, this tome packs in everything that makes fantasy such a rich genre. It is one that can be a bit tropey at times, but the way in which Spencer takes those tropes and adds her own ingredients is something you have to see for yourself.

Oh, and if you couldn’t tell by the cover, DRAGONS. Dragons are always cool so I didn’t think it really need to be stated… but DRAGONS.

Lastly, I wanted to point out that the audiobook is a worthwhile addition to your collection. I was lucky enough to get an early copy and Ben Farrow knocked it out of the park.

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  • LooshT3
  • 21-07-21

Outstanding high fantasy, and excellent narration

Disclaimers : I have been provided an early access copy of this audiobook in exchange for my unbiased review; I have also positively reviewed the print copy.

Dragon Mage is an exceptional entry by M.L. Spencer; it reminds me strongly of early Feist and McCaffrey works, while having a unique magic system, worldbuilding, and a main character whose struggles with his spectrum disorder feel tangible and familiar. In spite of weighing in at nearly 900 pages, the pacing of the story is crisp, leaping from action to action as you watch Aram and Markus grow in their roles.

The audio narration is superb. Ben brings a wealth of regional accents and inflections to bear on the character base, infusing each with their own personality. He handles Aram growing up deftly by subtly manipulating his pitch so he's still recognizable as the same character, but his voice matures as the character matures. Ben also manages to convey the urgency of the action with crisp narration, but he never speeds it up to the point where he loses the listener. The audio version is wonderful reflection of the novel; nothing is lost in the transition to this format.

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  • OlliespotSFFBookReviews
  • 21-07-21

Looking for a fresh Fantasy to enjoy? Let's gooo!

Goodreads doesn't have the audiobook version listed yet, as it was just released today. I was lucky to obtain an early audiobook through a giveaway from the author, and agreed to give it a fair review if I read it.

For some reason, dragons on the cover, in the title, and as a focus in the story don't ignite that desire to read a book for me, that they do for most fans of the fantasy genre. I think they look cool and all, I don't dislike them, I guess dragons just aren't my thing.

So, I'm glad to say I eventually gave it a go and from the start, I knew this was looking good. My hesitancy was quickly given an eviction notice and I couldn't believe how into the story I became. Never have knots been such an interesting subject and a knot cave seem like a natural life progression for me.

For the audiobook fan, I have to mention what a great job Ben Farrow did. A perfect choice and the first time I've heard him narrate. To compare his voiceand style to someone is easy, as I have been getting echos of Jim Dale's narration of the HP series all throughout, and I loved it. There was even some echos of that heavy tension, and hope present in Dragon Mage. I can see why this book has gotten a notable presence in my emails from my subscriptions to the thousands of bloggers I subscribe to.

There was a lot of orginality here and the main character was one that I wanted to befriend, and share this adventure with. In fact, the characters are so well written and then portrayed by Ben, that I was unable to turn the car off a couple times, and a few loads of laundry I washed, without actually putting anything in the washer. Great book and this series will be awesome, all the more so with such a great narrator for the audiobook lovers out there.

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  • Stephen C.
  • 21-07-21

Excellent Story, Well Narrated

I loved this - a really good story, set in an intriguing world, with a creative magic system - and delivered beautifully. Spencer's lead character, Aran, is truly unique, and I loved how Spencer introduced and developed him, showing us who he is and how he shows up in the world rather than just describing him and telling us what he's like. It felt like getting to know someone person to person rather than just hearing about someone from a common acquaintance. And he's someone very much worth knowing and adventuring with, as far as I'm concerned. If you like epic fantasy with real characters and imaginative storytelling give this a shot - you won't be sorry. Now I just have to wait for Spencer to publish the next one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • eddie f. castro
  • 20-07-21

Wow!!!!!


What a wonderful story , The words on the page grab you instantly! Aram our main character, His innocence reflects to the listener ten fold, his emotions become yours, his challenges become yours and his pain is felt thorough out , a coming of age story that only ML Spencer can do, her selection of words captivated me throughout this audiobook.
And the Narrator Ben Farrow Illuminates his voice through each of the characters in this story. He is a true talent as a narrator. I don’t want to spoil a thing. Please purchase and listen to one of my favorite stories so far this year. Also great cover art!!!

2 people found this helpful