Following after the events of Miller’s much accoladed The Innocent Mage and Innocence Lost books, this is the first book of a new series in the same world. Initially focusing on the original characters, the story gradually segues to concentrate more on the younger generation (hence the Fisherman’s Children of the series title. Almost two decades after the events of the previous books, much change has occurred for the people of Lur. Still greatly affected by the events prior to and during the Mage War, the people struggle to adapt to the new circumstances of their world, and when things begin to become unstable once more, it is difficult to see their way forward. Son of heroes Asher and Dathne, Rafel seeks to forge to the future, but is blocked on all sides: by parents unwilling to see him hurt by magic or conflict; by a sister too fragile for the world; by a mortal enemy, who maybe isn’t quite what he seems. Rafel struggles against all those who bind him, and in doing so, both risks himself and simultaneously may be the shining hope for his people.
I enjoyed reading The Prodigal Mage, but it seemed to take a good while to really get into the story. I haven’t read the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker sequence, and found myself feeling a bit left out because of it, as the characters are clearly still quite entrenched in those books. For me, the second half of the book, when it really started to focus on the younger generation, was when I truly became engaged, but at the same time, the first half really made me want to go read The Innocent Mage books!
Miller is a multi-talented writer who has a grand vision in her stories, and it’s always a pleasure to read her books. I don’t think I found the characters as three dimensional as is usual for her work, primarily because there seemed to be an expectation that the reader was already acquainted with them from the earlier books. This left me a bit high and dry, but I eventually gained a feel for most of the characters. I think it would be a far better experience to start with the original books, from all accounts, a worthwhile read in themselves, so no real hardship for the lover of good fantasy!