The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V.R. Cardoso

Magic can make you invincible, if it doesn’t get you killed first.

Aric and Fadan are half-brothers. Both sons of the Empress, but only one of them the son of the Emperor. A decade ago, Fadan’s powerful father tore the Empire in two by outlawing the use and practice of magic. Forbidden from seeing each other, Aric and Fadan defy the Emperor and wander the vast Imperial Citadel until one night, they stumble upon an ancient Manual of Magic. They are faced with a choice: take the book straight to the Emperor or see if one of them has the forbidden magical Talent. Their world is turned upside down and the half-brothers find themselves swept away as tragedy and conspiracy separate them, sending each to either end of the Empire. In a world of dark mages, massive creatures, and vengeful gods, one will train as a Dragon Hunter while the other taps into magical powers that could spell his execution.
Dark forces are moving in the shadows and no one in the Empire is ready for what’s to come. Will Aric and Fadan survive to ever see each other again?

I listened to The Dragon Hunter and the Mage in audiobook format, and overall I’d say it was a pretty good book. I did have a few issues with it, but positives first, the world was very well built, the plot well written, and overall quite enjoyable. Magic is usable by people with “the talent” to do basically anything. As far as I’m aware the potential of magic is basically limitless, except that they need to ingest a substance called Rudium which is made from dragon blood and is also illegal. It also appears to be insanely difficult to practice magic without gruesomely killing yourself in some way.

The plot was a bit of a weird one for me. The second half of the book was really well written, however, the first half was very slow and it took me quite a while to actually get into it. The real inciting incident didn’t occur until somewhere near 30% through the book, and even then it took a little while for things to start happening. At around halfway through the book really hits its strides and things really start to get interesting.

The characters were overall pretty well done, however, I did find a few of the less major characters to be a little bit bland. For example, the emperor seemed to have no real agenda and just liked to piss everyone around him off. The main characters, Aric and Faden, were mostly well written with a few weird moments, however, their motivations were evident, and character development well done.

The author also appears to not like using swear words. I found it frustrating that most swear words were replaced with “heck” instead of actual swear words. That’s really just a personal pet peeve, I found it particularly annoying when it was out of character and the tough guy dragon hunter was using “heck” instead of the actual swear words you’d expect them to use.

Overall, The Dragon Hunter and The Mage was quite a good book, but not quite in line with my own personal tastes. It looks to be a good start to a series that could do quite well.


This book is best for people who enjoy:

  • Interesting worlds
  • Dragons
  • Magic with stakes
  • Young Adult


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