Mark of Fire by Richard Phillips

Mark of Fire

An ancient prophecy. A young woman’s destiny. Lorness Carol, coming of age in the kingdom of her warlord father, Lord Rafel, aspires to wield magic. But she’s also unknowingly become the obsession of Kragan, an avenging wielder as old as evil itself. He’s waited centuries to find and kill the female prophesied as the only human empowered to destroy him. However, dispatchi...

Title:Mark of Fire
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Edition Language:English

Mark of Fire Reviews

  • Nadine

    Full spoiler-free review now on

    Sometimes you read a book and realise that it's just not for you, for various reasons. For me this happened with Mark of Fire, the first book in the Endarian Prophecy by Richard Phillips.

    At the beginning of the story, we get to know King Gilbert and his magic wielder Blalock, who controls the king. King Gilbert is new to the throne, doesn't trust his Lords and expects betrayal from everyone. Therefore, he sends his best assassin, Blade, to kill High Lord Ra

    Full spoiler-free review now on

    Sometimes you read a book and realise that it's just not for you, for various reasons. For me this happened with Mark of Fire, the first book in the Endarian Prophecy by Richard Phillips.

    At the beginning of the story, we get to know King Gilbert and his magic wielder Blalock, who controls the king. King Gilbert is new to the throne, doesn't trust his Lords and expects betrayal from everyone. Therefore, he sends his best assassin, Blade, to kill High Lord Rafel, the commander of the king's armies. But Blade was raised by Rafel and grew up with his children Carol and Alan. Therefore, he decides to just warn them of the king's intentions and goes into exil himself. During the whole story, we follow Carol and her family as they try to flee the kingdom of Tal and then we get to see Blade's journey west.

    One thing that I really liked about the story was the fact that Philipps gradually builds up his world and explains it to the reader in congruency with the journey Carol and her people have to make. You can easily follow her and Blade's progression on the map that's included, which is always a plus for me. However, there is still a lot we don't get to know more about, for example the big Vorg War that seems to have happend before the events in the book or details about the kingdom of Tal itself. More information would've definitely benefited the rushed start into the story and the overall plasticity of the world.

    I'm not that picky when it comes to writing style and often I don't see whether it's good or bad writing. But for the first time, I was a bit irritated by the way the author rather told us about the characters and their traits rather than let us see through their actions and words.

    Sadly, I didn't really care for either of the main characters. Even though we get to see a bit of Arn's past, I couldn't really understand why he became the way he is. And then there's this inner monologue where he thinks about his love life and the typical "I'm not worthy because I'm an evil person and she deserves better" trope.

    The thing that bothered me the most about Carol is the fact that she doesn't seem to have any big problems with wielding magic. Even though she starts using it at the beginning of the novel, she seems to be the most powerful sorceress in a long time. The magic system is rather fascinating because you have to control elementals to use their magical abilities, but there could have been some more explanations and rules to the system for my taste.

    With 302 pages, this novel is rather on the smaller side when it comes to fantasy books. This isn't a bad thing by any means, but I felt the story and especially the characters could have been more fleshed out with more pages. This is even more evident when you look at the amount of pure traveling that occures in both Arn's and Carol's POVs. Additionally, the book just ends at some point amidst the travelling without any great showdown or climax that leaves you wanting more.

    My highlight were definitely Ty and John, the two companions Arn meets during his travels. They reminded me a lot of Hadrian and Royce from The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan and were a great counterpart to Arn's sullen character.

    Altogether a fantasy book that could be more appealing to readers that are new to the genre.

    I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dee Arr

    Right from the first page of “Mark of Fire,” author Richard Phillips begins the hard-charging pace that could describe this entire book. This is definitely an action-oriented story, neatly wrapped inside a world that also has its share of magic wielders and evil half-men called vorgs.

    The author trades description for story. Although providing the least amount of words forces the reader to ingest more imagination into the book’s world, Mr. Phillips focuses on moving the characters forward. This p

    Right from the first page of “Mark of Fire,” author Richard Phillips begins the hard-charging pace that could describe this entire book. This is definitely an action-oriented story, neatly wrapped inside a world that also has its share of magic wielders and evil half-men called vorgs.

    The author trades description for story. Although providing the least amount of words forces the reader to ingest more imagination into the book’s world, Mr. Phillips focuses on moving the characters forward. This propels the tale, sometimes at a breakneck pace. For those looking for a fast read versus a lush background, this book will suit your taste.

    I liked the two main characters, Carol and Arn. Carol is developing her study of magic, battling the elementals she must learn to control as well as the men and beasts that hunt her. The author shares just enough about Arn to keep the reader guessing about his nature (is he good? bad? cold-hearted?), although right from the start we are allowed peeks into his nature. All characters could be more developed, but there is enough offered to describe the main characters that it is not bothersome. Once again, action provides momentum and reason for what the characters do, and readers are pulled into the story despite any descriptive shortcomings.

    The plot develops quickly, and plot and pace are the author’s five-star qualities. The king’s magic wielder has his own plans for the kingdom and manipulates the king into believing Carol’s father wishes to become the next king. This sets in motion the entire story as Carol’s father Rafel must decide what to do in order to save his family as well as the people who follow him. The telling of two separate tales at once (Carol’s and Arn’s) helps to keep tension in the book and prods the reader to continue turning pages.

    If I was bothered by anything, it was by the passage of time as indicated by the chapter headings. While the chapters themselves talked of days or weeks going by, the seasons passed quicker than any I have ever seen (although perhaps on this planet that is the norm...who is to say). The other was the author's mention of tanning and leather reins and such, granting his characters the ability to make these sorts of things within hours, which is not possible.

    I was about 25% into the tale when one of the characters said the word “damn,” at which point I realized this was the strongest language I had heard up to that point. In this day and time, it is wonderful to find an author who doesn’t feel he has to rely on vulgarities to add color to his novel.

    I knew ahead of time that this was a three-book saga, but I note here that for those who find the book engrossing, the next two books will be released in the first two months of 2018. I found this story enjoyable and refreshing, and recommend this to those who love reading sword and sorcery tales. The book was good enough to help me decide to purchase the next one. Four stars.

    Note to GR readers: Kindle First book, available to Amazon Prime members now, released on 11/1

  • Michael Kremen

    I got this book as a Kindle First book, it comes out in November, with the remainder of the trilogy out in early 2018.

    Maybe this book would work for younger readers, or those less versed in fantasy, or someone along those lines. It has heroes and villains established rather quickly, and action gets going relatively early to get the plot moving.

    That said, though some passages were descriptive, I felt more like I was being told things that mattered rather than being shown them.

    I got this book as a Kindle First book, it comes out in November, with the remainder of the trilogy out in early 2018.

    Maybe this book would work for younger readers, or those less versed in fantasy, or someone along those lines. It has heroes and villains established rather quickly, and action gets going relatively early to get the plot moving.

    That said, though some passages were descriptive, I felt more like I was being told things that mattered rather than being shown them. The villains seemed naturally mustache-twirling before even speaking, and the heroes do not develop early with delicate paint strokes early on so much as get revealed through big splats from the paint can.

    If that wasn't enough, the naming conventions really threw me off. It shouldn't matter, and in a better developed story, it probably would be less of a blip, but here it drew me out of the story each time.

    In short, maybe this book (and trilogy) will work better for other readers, but it made me not able to sit and read for over a week.

  • Diana Carson

    This is a fun fast read, not a complete story to itself. If you want to read all the books in the series, then dive in. Good for young teens, nice female character.

  • Ryan Sparks

    I bought this book from Amazon, the Fantasy book of the month for October in the Kindle First program. I'm going to be completely honest on this, I accidentally pressed the buy now button, but since it was $1.99, I figured no harm no foul.

    I love fantasy books, but starting a new series, especially one without a following already, is always a roll of the dice for me. Not only is this a new series, but I have never even heard of the author, Richard Phillips. I was pretty skeptical starting out, an

    I bought this book from Amazon, the Fantasy book of the month for October in the Kindle First program. I'm going to be completely honest on this, I accidentally pressed the buy now button, but since it was $1.99, I figured no harm no foul.

    I love fantasy books, but starting a new series, especially one without a following already, is always a roll of the dice for me. Not only is this a new series, but I have never even heard of the author, Richard Phillips. I was pretty skeptical starting out, and quite honestly was not impressed through the first quarter of the book. Not that it's a bad thing, but you're kind of thrown right into the story. There was no character or world building done prior to the start. You're introduced to the main cast of characters as they are presently, without any detail or history as to the "why" of the events unfolding. You're to just accept that things are happening to people.

    As the story progressed, I found myself more invested in the characters and the story. The world becomes richer with the turn of each page, and the main cast of characters end up with minor development. I became more and more hooked with each reading session, and by the end, I've become fully immersed and drawn in. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the next book, Prophecy's Daughter, this coming January.

    I ended up giving the book 3 stars because of how long it took to get immersed. If you're a fan of fantasy, this one's definitely worth the read. The Endarian Prophecy is a series to keep an eye on this year.

  • Dawn

    I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Promising premise, weak story. A prophecy to stop a madman—of course said madman must find and murder the main character of this prophecy. Carol is the daughter of a nobleman and warrior. Surprisingly she is a well of magic, and she masters this magic quickly and efficiently—this I found hard to believe, but of course if she is the woman of the prophecy this has to be so. She is also in love with Blade, another integral p

    I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Promising premise, weak story. A prophecy to stop a madman—of course said madman must find and murder the main character of this prophecy. Carol is the daughter of a nobleman and warrior. Surprisingly she is a well of magic, and she masters this magic quickly and efficiently—this I found hard to believe, but of course if she is the woman of the prophecy this has to be so. She is also in love with Blade, another integral part of this prophecy. He is of course a tortured soul, his parents having been murdered when he was a young child. Their stories diverge and run parallel to each other, making the story very disconnected. I also did not like the language at all—it did not fit with the time period and felt forced (it also got on my nerves).

  • Cherryl Stiles

    The book was very well written. I gave a 4 rating because, well it was almost superb. But as much reverence the author has for his wife, having the names Carol for a great and powerful wielder that was professed from thousand years back, I felt like Carol was not a very apt name for a such setting of magic and time. Neither is Kim for an Endarian princess. Anyway, story was really good all in all. Can't wait for the next books.

  • Deedi Brown (DeediReads)

    I downloaded this title as my Kindle First October Book. I enjoyed it, but I knew I was going to get myself into trouble reading the first of a series that isn't fully published yet!

    My overall impression is that this book has a classic but compelling fantasy plot, but I wish everything had been more fully developed. There wasn't much world-building in the beginning and the characters are not very complex, but I can feel their potential. I hope that the second and third books in the series add to

    I downloaded this title as my Kindle First October Book. I enjoyed it, but I knew I was going to get myself into trouble reading the first of a series that isn't fully published yet!

    My overall impression is that this book has a classic but compelling fantasy plot, but I wish everything had been more fully developed. There wasn't much world-building in the beginning and the characters are not very complex, but I can feel their potential. I hope that the second and third books in the series add to the world's depth more effectively and make the characters nice and round. However, the book's simplicity does make it a quick read.

    I also felt like the "action" scenes were well-written and engaging, but the slower scenes that were meant to develop the plot were not. There was so much blase description of unimportant activity. For example, the main character, Carol, would wake up, eat something for breakfast, go wash up in the stream, chat with an acquaintance, take a nap, then have a four-sentence conversation with her mentor, say she'd be right back after she packed her wagon, go pack the wagon, return for six more sentences with her mentor, and then go to bed. I really didn't need any of that—could they not just have had the conversation? Do I care that she took a nap or had to pack her wagon? No, I do not.

    When men try to write feminist lead characters, there's often something just slightly off about it, and this is no exception. Nothing seems 

    , per se, but maybe it's just because the characters are still so flat. I just felt like Carol's thoughts and emotions were stated to plainly and left for face-value. Sometimes Phillips felt the need to write her internal monologue in a way that reiterated important things that happened, almost as though he was afraid you hadn't caught them the first time. But...yeah...we got it, thanks.

    All in all, I read this book quickly and did enjoy it. I'm intrigued by the story and certainly want to know what happens next, so I'll keep my eyes out for the next one. I just need to remember that it's going to be a quick and not-too-deep type of read.

  • Kirstin

    Struggled with what rating to give this, I read it all, but unlikely to bother with the next book when it is published.

    Hard to say what was wrong with it, it just felt like “fantasy by numbers” if that makes sense... once upon a time this happened , then this , and this but it all turned out okay ... everything felt rushed, no detail, no history, no character building.. and when anyone got in any sort of mishap, it was always resolved with no fuss within a few paragraphs .

    I also struggled with t

    Struggled with what rating to give this, I read it all, but unlikely to bother with the next book when it is published.

    Hard to say what was wrong with it, it just felt like “fantasy by numbers” if that makes sense... once upon a time this happened , then this , and this but it all turned out okay ... everything felt rushed, no detail, no history, no character building.. and when anyone got in any sort of mishap, it was always resolved with no fuss within a few paragraphs .

    I also struggled with the character names, Carol just didn’t do it for me ( I know it’s the authors wife’s name.. ).. derek was another one!!

  • Kevin Bergin

    Arrrrrrgh, its finished. No. I was so engrossed in this book I never saw the end coming. Yes I know I must have realised at some level. This book needs a warning, “So good will leave you panting for more”. And who let me read this book before the sequel is released? Now I walk around with the possible next part of the adventure in my head.

    Just how I love my books, fast and furious and plenty left to my imagination rather than being led and fed.

    All of the characters are well developed and soon te

    Arrrrrrgh, its finished. No. I was so engrossed in this book I never saw the end coming. Yes I know I must have realised at some level. This book needs a warning, “So good will leave you panting for more”. And who let me read this book before the sequel is released? Now I walk around with the possible next part of the adventure in my head.

    Just how I love my books, fast and furious and plenty left to my imagination rather than being led and fed.

    All of the characters are well developed and soon tend to lope about your lounge and kitchen. I also love the bear cub. Carol and Arn are the two main characters, the story swings around them. Arn is my favourite and we get to hear and see and feel much of the story through him.

    I am standing outside the bookshop waiting for the next book in this trilogy to be released, which is apparently Early 2018.

    Its one of those rare books that ruins you for others, which is a problem, particularly when you review books.

    Many thanks to the author, publishers and Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

    (less)

    Kevin


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