Review: The Faceless Mage By Kenley Davidson


Leisa’s responsibilities were once straightforward: protect the princess, keep her powers hidden, and wait for her family’s return. However, her duties change drastically when the king orders her to use her unique abilities to gather intelligence on the Garimore kingdom, leaving her alone and far from home, living a dangerous double life. Her mission is further complicated by the Raven, a notorious masked assassin feared throughout the Five Thrones. The Raven is not what she anticipated, however, and Leisa finds herself both intrigued and frightened by his silent and deadly demeanor. When her mission takes a deadly turn, Leisa must evade the Raven’s blade to succeed. It’s a task that no one has ever accomplished, but Leisa is determined to be the first. If she fails, her entire kingdom will suffer the consequences in blood.


I don’t think I expected much going into the book as I wanted to read something light. However everything in this book was just vague and underwhelming. The premise was intriguing. A mage bound with magic to obey a master’s every command without question. What’s not to like? But I didn’t find Raven that interesting at all. Our female protagonist Leisa wasn’t much to be fond of either. For a self proclaimed bad ass she made one mistake after another and I was wondering when she was going to use her magic to escape tricky situations. At one point I wondered whether she can only take the princess’s form and nothing else because when she was fleeing back to her own kingdom she could have used a multiple forms to avoid detection. I feel like author completely forgot about her ability to shapeshift in the end.

Plot was very weak. Firstly, I didn’t understand why it was the princess who had to go on the quest to complete negotiations, or why she asked (I can’t remember his name; the one who she asked to spy) him to spy instead of her as she had an easy way of avoid detection. Also I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact she just hated her to-be-fiancé without a proper reason, except for her conception ‘like father, like son’. Even if he smiled at her, it was bad, in her books. And the king threatening to declare war just like that? Because they found a spy? Then what was the point of all that marriage negotiations? If he had the capability of invading he should have done so in the first place.

And romance…. what romance? There wasn’t any. Raven was just curious about her and Leisa him. That’s it.. Basically I was very underwhelmed by his character. Leisa was your typical ‘I am not like other girls’ girl. I actually hate this trope. If you need to make your heroine different, make sure she stands out in her own unique way. Hating corsets and girly things doesn’t actually make you different.

Furthermore, the setting of the story seemed to be a confusing blend of medieval and baroque styles, which left me feeling uneasy. The cover art portrayed a medieval style dress with long sleeves, but the clothing described in the book, including corsets, waistcoats, and petticoats, suggested a later period, perhaps as late as the 1600s. As someone with a background in fashion history, this inconsistency was quite jarring, and I would have preferred if the author had chosen a single time period to stick with.

The dialogue in the book feels stiff and forced, lacking the natural flow that one would expect between the two main characters. Despite their supposed psychic bond, the interactions between the hero and heroine always seem stilted and artificial, even during moments when they are meant to be expressing genuine emotions. The book places great emphasis on creating these types of intimate moments to strengthen the connection between the characters, but unfortunately, the dialogue falls short in achieving this goal.



Book Cover

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