Incredibly annoying. Every twist signalled miles in advance (hint: the society subjugating some of its people based on who has magic or not? Not great, it turns out), a random cowboy lady introducing the worst tonal dissonance, more predictable plot, a whiny protagonist who takes turns following other people and following narrative needs … nooope, this was not for me.
Beware: full spoilers! Also probably incomplete and possibly incomprehensible.
The Jan’Tep are magician-dominated: if you can claim your magic by age 16, you’re in, otherwise you get delegated to the servant class. Magic is bound to six tattoo rings that kids get when they are babies. Only the servant class can enter the mine to get the precious metals needed for that. For some reason, they spend all their life with that (wtf baby arms aren’t that big). The society is ruled by a leader (“Prince” – why??), but also by a council of influential families. Protagonist’s dad is one of them.
Protagonist Kellen can’t access his magic, but is clever. Is bullied. A super over-the-top cowboy lady (an Argosi) happens by, with magic tarot cards, helps him, insults him, gets him to see the general inequality of things. There’s also the queen/duchess/whoever, who is chained to her home, and super curt and impatient with fools and people stating the obvious. My spirit animal.
Anyway, a lot happens, Kellen is shunned a bit, starts leaking black magic, his father starts taking his magic away entirely, showdown time, and in the end it turns out that the people living there now only stole the magic from the original inhabitants. With the help of a giant swearing rat (a Nekhek), Kellen kinda defeats his evil servant uncle and the evil aristocrats. He then runs off with the cowboy lady.