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The Unsuspecting Mage

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“Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…” Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world. It a “Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…” Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world. It all gets started when his grandfather suggests to James, a young man on the verge of graduating high school, that he check out the following advertisement for a job. “Magic! Real Magic! Ever wanted to learn? We require someone with intelligence and a disciplined mind. Those well versed in fantasy novels and role playing games a plus. May need to travel.” Sounded like the perfect job for a veteran role-player and avid fantasy reader. James had no idea he’d be whisked to another world, completely cut off from friends and family. Arriving in a meadow in the middle of a forest, he’s greeted by a creature not entirely human. He was then told three things: Magic works here… Don’t try to go home… Get to the village of Trendle… Then the creature vanished. Which way was Trendle? Where was he? What might inhabit the forest that will seek his ruination? These were but a few of the questions needing to be unraveled. Alone with only his wits and knowledge gleaned from hundreds of books and dungeon campaigns, he started out just trying to survive. He soon learned that one mistake, one lapse in judgment could mean his death. Not long after arriving, he made the acquaintance of Miko, a street-wise kid who quickly became his friend and companion. Little did he know that the strength within this child from the streets of Bearn, a strength that would be tested again and again as they waded through battle after battle, delved in hidden passages deep beneath the earth, and faced off against an the might of an Empire, would be invaluable in the trials ahead. The Unsuspecting Mage is the first book of The Morcyth Saga, a seven book epic fantasy adventure. It follows James as he seeks first to master the art of magic then to uncover the reason why he had been brought to this strange new world where armies are on the move and gods meddle in the affairs of men.


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“Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…” Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world. It a “Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…” Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world. It all gets started when his grandfather suggests to James, a young man on the verge of graduating high school, that he check out the following advertisement for a job. “Magic! Real Magic! Ever wanted to learn? We require someone with intelligence and a disciplined mind. Those well versed in fantasy novels and role playing games a plus. May need to travel.” Sounded like the perfect job for a veteran role-player and avid fantasy reader. James had no idea he’d be whisked to another world, completely cut off from friends and family. Arriving in a meadow in the middle of a forest, he’s greeted by a creature not entirely human. He was then told three things: Magic works here… Don’t try to go home… Get to the village of Trendle… Then the creature vanished. Which way was Trendle? Where was he? What might inhabit the forest that will seek his ruination? These were but a few of the questions needing to be unraveled. Alone with only his wits and knowledge gleaned from hundreds of books and dungeon campaigns, he started out just trying to survive. He soon learned that one mistake, one lapse in judgment could mean his death. Not long after arriving, he made the acquaintance of Miko, a street-wise kid who quickly became his friend and companion. Little did he know that the strength within this child from the streets of Bearn, a strength that would be tested again and again as they waded through battle after battle, delved in hidden passages deep beneath the earth, and faced off against an the might of an Empire, would be invaluable in the trials ahead. The Unsuspecting Mage is the first book of The Morcyth Saga, a seven book epic fantasy adventure. It follows James as he seeks first to master the art of magic then to uncover the reason why he had been brought to this strange new world where armies are on the move and gods meddle in the affairs of men.

30 review for The Unsuspecting Mage

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Zazueta

    I dare you to read this book. It is that bad. If you can get around how annoying reading in present tense is, a character which is as one dimensional as a character in an old video game and every cliche in the fantasy genre, you are still looking at a terrible story. The only thing this book needs to read as a dialogue for a video game are the words "HP" and "MP". May God have mercy on our souls. I dare you to read this book. It is that bad. If you can get around how annoying reading in present tense is, a character which is as one dimensional as a character in an old video game and every cliche in the fantasy genre, you are still looking at a terrible story. The only thing this book needs to read as a dialogue for a video game are the words "HP" and "MP". May God have mercy on our souls.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    I first discovered The Unsuspecting Mage while looking for new things to add to my Kindle. The blurb was interesting so I got it and read it. Although I made it through the story, it was a difficult trek. The first challenge was the awkward present tense that made the story feel like it was forcing you along with the characters and wasn't even consistent through the book. Another thing that I didn't like was the inconsistency of speech used by James who goes from talking like a modern teen-aged I first discovered The Unsuspecting Mage while looking for new things to add to my Kindle. The blurb was interesting so I got it and read it. Although I made it through the story, it was a difficult trek. The first challenge was the awkward present tense that made the story feel like it was forcing you along with the characters and wasn't even consistent through the book. Another thing that I didn't like was the inconsistency of speech used by James who goes from talking like a modern teen-aged character to someone older and more proper and poetic. The story line itself was full of events and descriptions that were never followed up on or explained so it ended up having a very random pieced together feel to it. Also it felt like too much of the story was just James boasting of his own knowledge gained in our world to the poor shmucks he met in the world he goes to. While this is supposed to be part one of a series those things may be followed up on it later books but it didn't seem to stand very well on its own. All in all it felt like a story written by a teen-aged boy very much like James who enjoys role-playing and reading so he thought he might write a story about someone that had role-playing turn to real life. That said, it could be an interesting book, but I believe was published too soon in the editing process. I doubt that I will follow up on any of the following books.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    If a high school student published his notes from the D&D campaign he was running, you would have this book; if he happened to be failing English at the time. There is no central plot arc, just the main character (James) roaming around doing small quests (like a role playing game. Indeed, I have done many of the quests, such as "rescue so and so" or "find the bandits that raided this caravan" multiple times), so maybe it doesn't even qualify as that. D&D campaigns have actual goals. What little If a high school student published his notes from the D&D campaign he was running, you would have this book; if he happened to be failing English at the time. There is no central plot arc, just the main character (James) roaming around doing small quests (like a role playing game. Indeed, I have done many of the quests, such as "rescue so and so" or "find the bandits that raided this caravan" multiple times), so maybe it doesn't even qualify as that. D&D campaigns have actual goals. What little hints of a larger plot that we see seem contrived at best. Ostensibly, this is a world on the bring of war that will depend on James to save them all in future books. In that case, I feel for them because they are all doomed (or not, since James can do nearly anything he wants, more on that later). I get that the book is self published, but it badly needs an editor for both substance and copy. Not even a paid editor, the author could have shown a friend or even bothered to proof read it again himself (like they teach you to do in middle school) and found the dozens of grammatical errors (like missing subjects and verbs), flow problems and plot holes in the story. The story is told in third person present tense, which doesn't really work, especially when it randomly switches to past tense. The writing style is very stilted and awkward. For example, a mountain pass is described as "the road becomes increasingly vertical as its vertical slope increases". In fact, a visit to the author's website (a thought-vomit 90's style eyesore in itself) reveals that he seems to revel in these problems, forgoing traditional elements like readability, plot, or descriptions for more "fun" as he puts it. Unfortunately, there is precious little of that. There is serious need for a content editor as well. The world building is poor at best. There is no economy in this world. James becomes the equivalent of a millionaire in the new world from a bounty put up by a tiny hamlet after his first "quest". The characters are shallow and predictable (again like a stamped out RPG), and morality is very black and white. Stealing is wrong, unless James needs something. Breaking and entering is wrong, unless the door is in James' way. Killing is wrong, unless... You see where this goes. The NPCs, er, supporting characters speak common English using the same modern idioms as James. Pretty much all of them also know everything about the events of the larger world around them and are happy to share it with any random stranger, even when it is their job not to, as in the soldiers. James is basically a demigod though, which is alternately funny and frustrating. James goes from being a self proclaimed bookish introvert that rarely leaves his bedroom, to a skilled woodsman, horse handler, and ruthless killer in about 3 days time... (he levels up quickly by completing all those simple tasks and fighting those low level ruffians I guess). Of course, that could be due to magic, since the magic system equates to "James can do whatever he needs to do to accomplish his goals with minimal thought or challenge". As a protagonist, James is neither likeable nor relatable. When he finds himself in a new world, faced with never seeing his family or the friend he left just on the other side of the door (amid a rash of local kids disappearing) again, his reaction? "Eh, they'll manage.". The rest of the book is filled with similar inexplicable reactions that make no sense other than to satisfy the latest McGuffin (which are WAY over used, being the only thing that advances the plot). This type of fiction requires the suspension of disbelief, I get that, but very little in the book is plausible, the world is a mish-mash of modern and antiquated concepts, and there is nothing for the reader to hang on to or identify with to keep them interested. The book is almost worth the price (free), especially for the Young Adult market, but the goal of this business model is to hook the reader with the first free book to get them to buy the rest of the series. In this, the book fails miserably. I think I put more time into editing this review than Mr. Pratt did into editing his book. This is honestly one of the worst books I have read in years and I doubt I would read the others even if they were free.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cath

    Let me start out by telling you that I absolutely loved this book. The Unsuspecting Mage was a free book for the Amazon Kindle & i can never resist anything with the word 'free', so I downloaded it straight away, not really expecting anything great. Brief Summary: (may contains spoilers) (view spoiler)[James, a slightly nerdy boy who lives with his grandma and granddad after his parents both died years ago loves to read and is most happy when his head is buried in a book. One day - after many hin Let me start out by telling you that I absolutely loved this book. The Unsuspecting Mage was a free book for the Amazon Kindle & i can never resist anything with the word 'free', so I downloaded it straight away, not really expecting anything great. Brief Summary: (may contains spoilers) (view spoiler)[James, a slightly nerdy boy who lives with his grandma and granddad after his parents both died years ago loves to read and is most happy when his head is buried in a book. One day - after many hints from his granddad to get a job - James sees an advert in a newspaper stating: 'Magic! Real Magic! Ever wanted to learn? We require someone with intelligence and a disciplined mind. Those well versed in fantasy novels and role playing games a plus. May need to travel.' James - who other than reading - loves to spend his time roleplaying with his best friend decides that this would be the perfect job for him and would also get his granddad off his case. He goes to the interview, leaving his best friend in the waiting room. Taking a strange book left on the table, James enters the room where he presumes the interview will take place. However, instead of leading him to another room, the doorway leads him to a completely different world! There James meets a strange creature that tells him to head towards a town, where his journey then begins. He sees the two missing students from his school, meets a street brat who he befriends and who joins him on his journey, angers a powerful and nasty Lord and gets in the middle of a war. On the way Jame's learns to use his magic more effectively, helping people along the way. (hide spoiler)] From the very start I was hooked.Brian S. Pratt kept me hooked throughout the book with his various plot twists and challenges he tossed at James and his companion, Miko. I'm a big fan of DnD and roleplaying, so I loved how the quest was set out just like a RP campaign. James was faced with various challenges which he had to overcome to progress in his journey, and I thought was really unique to a story-characters journey. The character of James, was, by far one of my favorite. I felt he really developed as a person as the story went on and was somebody I could relate too, since I am roughly the same age he is. He speaks like a regular teen would, though he shows a very high level of maturity, as he knows to keep his abilities a secret and not flaunt them, and he acts above his age when meeting and helping new people. His progress with learning the ins and outs of using his new found abilities to wield magic felt realistic, as he didn't just suddenly become the wurldz most awsum mage omgz, but instead progressed into his developing abilities gradually, and it felt as though he earned the 'levels up' so to speak. The magics limits also seemed realistic, and again reminded me of DnD of the limits of spells and the power drain they have. I liked this, since it stopped James becoming a Gary Stu, being able to do spells to solve all his problems. Instead, he realises his limits and varies his magic use to when he seriously needs it, instead finding other ways to solve his situation - which in turn, helped develop his character. It's true that perhaps more care needed to be taken into the editing, but it's not like it was overly noticeable or stopped me reading. It's hard to write a novel, edit & market it all by yourself so I can definitely understand and overlook this little flaw, especially since half the time I didn't even notice anything was amiss as I was too engrossed in the story! I loved the cliffhanger ending (view spoiler)[Poor Miko!! (hide spoiler)] and I can not WAIT to purchase the next one. Brian S. Pratt has made my list of favorite Fantasy Writers (next to Terry Brooks). 5 stars for me!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Herman Gigglethorpe

    The Unsuspecting Reader I don't even play tabletop RPGs, and this book is obviously a thinly-veiled Dungeons and Dragons game. A fantasy and D&D nerd named James suddenly falls into a generic fantasy world after answering a cryptic newspaper ad, and has to go on a poorly defined quest. Pipeweed is even directly ripped from Lord of the Rings! I didn't know this at the time, but the city of Trademeet is better known as a location in Baldur's Gate 2. The creature who summoned him doesn't even tell h The Unsuspecting Reader I don't even play tabletop RPGs, and this book is obviously a thinly-veiled Dungeons and Dragons game. A fantasy and D&D nerd named James suddenly falls into a generic fantasy world after answering a cryptic newspaper ad, and has to go on a poorly defined quest. Pipeweed is even directly ripped from Lord of the Rings! I didn't know this at the time, but the city of Trademeet is better known as a location in Baldur's Gate 2. The creature who summoned him doesn't even tell him what the goal is, or where the nearest town is! Of course wolves jump him and his classmate immediately, because all wolves in fiction love to eat humans instead of large animals. The dialogue is often dull and should be spoken in a deadpan voice: "You need to get out of that room of yours more. Stop spending so much time in there alone with your books and start living a little more in reality. She's nice and I believe still available." The narration is all in third person present, which is more jarring than you might think. James traipses along and fights various low-level random encounters, including bandits, thugs, and the occasional devil summoner. He goes to towns with no idea as to what to do. Even Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini gave reasons as to why their characters were going places! Much of the novel is fairly bland, and I won't bore you with all the details, but the magic system is funny. It's based on poetry, and rhyme and meter makes the spells strong. The power comes from the caster's life force or energy. Of course, James doesn't always bother to rhyme: "Moss placed under the wood/Ignite so I can cook my food!" What accent does this kid have to rhyme wood and food? Also, mages are rare and often feared, yet everyone has some degree of innate magical power. Why doesn't anyone try to use it for mundane purposes at least? The villains summon demons through the traditional avenue of drawing pentagrams and lighting candles. Eventually James learns how to cast spells by pure concentration rather than having to make poems, which throws one of the few funny parts of this book out the window. Here's some spells I came up with when reading this stupid book. They're often better than Brian Pratt's doggerel: Herman Gigglethorpe's Book of Spells Bandages unpeel May my leg heal! Robbers make old men weep Put this thief to sleep! I'm having problems with rats Let's summon some cats! (X) is such a brat Turn him into a cat! This situation is so risible Perhaps I should turn invisible! Diseases are hard to cure Make this water clear and pure! This medallion has me stupefied I immediately want it identified! That last one would have saved the heroes a lot of trouble. . . The heroes finally find out they're supposed to investigate the temples of the god Morcyth, the chief deity of an extinct religion of goodness. I was hoping that they summoned people from Earth to trap them for some reason. That would make more sense given that the ad at the beginning was portrayed as creepy because several teens disappeared around that time. . . There's also weird moments that break up the otherwise dull action. Miko (the street urchin sidekick) discovers that James is circumcised while taking a bath. Miko doesn't understand the concept, so James goes on to explain circumcision and the need to avoid casual sex. This scene is as awkward as it sounds and does not need to be there. The best part comes when James has a dream or vision about the creature from the beginning dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume in Disneyland. I'm not kidding. James and "Mickey" discuss the idea that Disneyland is some focal point for positive feelings and goodness in general, and then the rest of the book occurs as if nothing unusual has happened. I'll have to give it to Pratt, I did not expect to see the phrase "Up yours, Mickey!" in any published work. 80% generic fantasy, 19% bad poetry, and 1% pure insanity is the best way to describe this book. The novel ends on an obvious cliffhanger as James and company are trapped in a city besieged by The Empire (no, that's really what it's called: The Empire). At least you don't have to waste money on this as it's free on the Kindle.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Larry Ruddell

    Got this free for my Nook through Barnes and Noble. While the story line is fine it is clear why Mr. Pratt has had to self publish his books. He seriously needs an editor. Inconsistent language, redundant talk and narrative, and overt moralizing interfere with the story line and add least 200 unnecessary pages to this book. Maybe the writing will improve in the future installments but unless I able to get the next one free also, I will probably never know.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    The Unsuspecting Mage was a freebie on the Nook. The description sounded like fairly standard fantasy, and it was free, so I figured it was worth a read. While I did finish the book and enjoyed it for what it was, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, because its few strengths are far outweighed by the quantity and intensity of its weaknesses. The most glaring weakness of the book is that it is written in present tense. While I will absolve Pratt of pretension (which is frequently the cause, or perh The Unsuspecting Mage was a freebie on the Nook. The description sounded like fairly standard fantasy, and it was free, so I figured it was worth a read. While I did finish the book and enjoyed it for what it was, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, because its few strengths are far outweighed by the quantity and intensity of its weaknesses. The most glaring weakness of the book is that it is written in present tense. While I will absolve Pratt of pretension (which is frequently the cause, or perhaps the effect, of present tense), I found it very difficult to become immersed in the book because of how poorly the present tense is implemented. There are many places where Pratt inconsistently shifts to past tense or past perfect, and it was distracting because I kept trying to make sense out of why he had suddenly changed tenses. (It was usually because he was describing a past event, but he wasn't consistent.) The next major failing is the lack of an editor. This lack shows up in two ways: minor typographical errors such as it's instead of its, and extraneous scenes and dialogue. For example, there's one scene in which the main character is describing something to another character. In the middle of the conversation, another character walks up, and the main character again describes the same events to this character. Then, another character walks up, and again, the main character describes the events to this character. So we got the same set of events described multiple times in a couple of pages - when we had just experienced those events along with the main character one page previously. I estimate that at least 50% of the dialogue in the book is unnecessary (i.e., doesn't contribute to either plot or character development). Speaking of the main character, I haven't mentioned the plot yet. The book is a cross between lonely nerd wish-fulfilment (something I'm very familiar with) and a transcribed D&D campaign (again, something I'm quite familiar with; I swear, there were points at which I thought, "Make a Search check," or "You rest. Regain [level+CON mod] hit points per day"). The main character is a lonely nerd whose only friend is the one guy willing to play in the campaigns he runs (normally, campaigns have 3-5 players; a campaign with just one player is frankly kind of sad). When the main character sees a vague newspaper ad calling for people who are fond of fantasy and role-playing games (oddly, his grandparents, who have been pushing him to find a real job, are the ones who give him the ad. Um, what?), he naturally answers it, and finds himself magically transported to a magical world where he can magically do magic and is magically in the right magical place at the right magical time to go on a magical quest. This is just the first book in a series, so he doesn't get all that far on his quest, which honestly reads like something out of a D&D campaign. Just so this review isn't too mean, I will describe some strengths. While dialogue in general cannot be considered a strength since much of it is unnecessary, as mentioned above, and since much of it is, frankly, not something anyone would say, Pratt does do a good job of giving his characters individual voices. James, the main character, speaks more or less like a late 20th-century teen. The characters who belong to the sword-and-sorcery world, while they don't quite speak old-fashioned English, noticeably do not speak 20th-century English, and each does have his own voice. Pratt has a good vocabulary and uses it correctly. There are one or two places where he uses a two-bit word when its penny equivalent would have sufficed, but in general, I felt that the diction of the work as a whole was consistent and effective. The magic system is realistic. Pratt has obviously invested a lot of thought into determining what magic can and cannot do, and what James in particular can and cannot do. James's abilities are consistent, and their progression through the book, as he learns more about magic and his own limitations, is logical. The plot - so sayeth the nerd and D&D player - was interesting enough to keep my attention despite the annoyances described above. It was not, however, interesting enough to get me to pay anything for the remaining books in the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tish

    I could not finish this book. Believe me I tried. Usually I can force myself through a book. Sometimes I continue reading when everything in me says MOVE ON and I'm rewarded but honestly I couldn't talk myself into finishing it. Maybe there's plot eventually. I have no idea. I read about 60% of this book. All that I read of it was the main character traveling and then fighting battles he shouldn't be able to survive and yet somehow does, then he travels some more, gets into some more craziness h I could not finish this book. Believe me I tried. Usually I can force myself through a book. Sometimes I continue reading when everything in me says MOVE ON and I'm rewarded but honestly I couldn't talk myself into finishing it. Maybe there's plot eventually. I have no idea. I read about 60% of this book. All that I read of it was the main character traveling and then fighting battles he shouldn't be able to survive and yet somehow does, then he travels some more, gets into some more craziness he shouldn't get out of alive and then more traveling. None of it seems to have a purpose. It's just walk walk walk and then fight fight fight. It felt like a dungeon crawler video game. No real purpose. Just walking and killing. I have no clue why this has so many good reviews. I'd think maybe it gets better in the end except so many people feel the exact same way I did that I have to say I must be right and it's not worth it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    This author is self-published and I can't believe that for as long as this book has been out, I haven't heard more about the series or the author. I downloaded this as a free "teaser" for my Kindle and was introduced to the fantasy of Brian S. Pratt and what appears to be a 7 volume series of the Morcyth Saga. I really like the way the book is written in present tense and how it follows James in his journey to a new magical land. The details make it easy to get lost in the world and feel as if y This author is self-published and I can't believe that for as long as this book has been out, I haven't heard more about the series or the author. I downloaded this as a free "teaser" for my Kindle and was introduced to the fantasy of Brian S. Pratt and what appears to be a 7 volume series of the Morcyth Saga. I really like the way the book is written in present tense and how it follows James in his journey to a new magical land. The details make it easy to get lost in the world and feel as if you are following James along in his travels instead of watching as a distant observer. The book ends in a "to-be-continued" manner and made me so happy to have my Kindle and be able to jump right into the next novel right away. I highly recommend this book to those who like fantasy. I will advise that there are some graphic details of dead bodies, but other than that, this book is great!

  10. 5 out of 5

    May

    So many people thought this book sucked, but I didn't. I'll tell you why. This book is written beautifully, if you forget that one grammatical error. And if you're looking for Romance, try somewhere else. The book is written in present tense, which I think is REALLY cool. The other people are a bunch of babies, and if you are too, go read a mainstream book like Harry Potter or Eragon (which were both AMAZING). If you aren't, I dare you to read this book, because you won't be able to put it down… So many people thought this book sucked, but I didn't. I'll tell you why. This book is written beautifully, if you forget that one grammatical error. And if you're looking for Romance, try somewhere else. The book is written in present tense, which I think is REALLY cool. The other people are a bunch of babies, and if you are too, go read a mainstream book like Harry Potter or Eragon (which were both AMAZING). If you aren't, I dare you to read this book, because you won't be able to put it down…or the rest of the series, until you finish it! I don't rate five stars often (rarely I would say), but I think this book deserves it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    This was very reminiscent of some early video games for me. Anyone who's played a role-playing game (in person or the first computer based ones) will find the story telling style very familiar. If you like it, the story keeps you interested, however, the not-quite-choose-your-own-adventure feeling is not what I would normally call good writing. I did enjoy it though. This was very reminiscent of some early video games for me. Anyone who's played a role-playing game (in person or the first computer based ones) will find the story telling style very familiar. If you like it, the story keeps you interested, however, the not-quite-choose-your-own-adventure feeling is not what I would normally call good writing. I did enjoy it though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joel Calhoun

    Teribad, was free on my nook, not worth it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Good start to the series. My only gripe is that the author edits his own books and you can tell with some grammar issues as well as word usage. But it is a good start to a good series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Morris

    Short but good This is a good read. It's a good snack between heavier reading like J. R. Tolkien or George r r Martin. Short but good This is a good read. It's a good snack between heavier reading like J. R. Tolkien or George r r Martin.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steve Naylor

    Rating 2.0 stars Started off a little slow. Then started to be sort of interesting and then I just couldn't comprehend what the MC was doing anymore. The story follows James. A 17 year old who loves to read and loves D&D. His grandfather has been on him to get a job and he answers an add that seems perfect for him. He goes to the interview, walks through and door and ends up on another world in another time. The book found is a primer for magic and he is able to use it using his D&D skills. The Rating 2.0 stars Started off a little slow. Then started to be sort of interesting and then I just couldn't comprehend what the MC was doing anymore. The story follows James. A 17 year old who loves to read and loves D&D. His grandfather has been on him to get a job and he answers an add that seems perfect for him. He goes to the interview, walks through and door and ends up on another world in another time. The book found is a primer for magic and he is able to use it using his D&D skills. The instructions are to picture what you want to happen in your head and say words in a lyrical fashion to get the magic to work. He has experience in D&D coming up with rhyming phrases and uses those. Doing this he is able to perform magic. He walks through the woods for a while trying to survive and has some close calls. (view spoiler)[ He ends up getting attacked by a group of wolves and is saved by a woodsman. He later helps that woodsman when he is attacked by a group of bandits. He uses his magic too much and ends up unconscious. (hide spoiler)] He eventually gets to a nearby town and is able to get somewhat acclimated to this world. He has a little bit more of an adventure while he is the town which I thought was pretty interesting. Then things took a turn for me with the MC (view spoiler)[ James is new to this world and is only 17. He has no idea about the world, his magic, or even how to ride a house. I would have thought that he would get acclimated more with the town. Learn more about his magic and figure out how to live in this world. That is no what he does though. After a couple of days resting in the town he decides he needs to leave. He is shown how to ride a horse and take care of it and then he is off. No weapons. No idea how much things cost (he does have some money from the bounty on the bandits he helped kill). No real idea of where he is going or why. He ends up either being attacked by bandits or goes out of his way to help other people who are attacked by bandits multiple times. He uses magic to help him through. He finds a couple of spells that help him survive like the one that increases the speed of rocks that he has thrown to kill people. Instead of doing that. A lot of the time he tries some new spell at the last second that uses so much power it makes him pass out. He does this MULTIPLE times. He goes to another town and befriends a street rat who is around 12 or 13. He ends up embroiled in the street rats problems and they get hunted and leave town. This is when the MC really turns on me. He is only 17 and barely knows anything about this world and yet, he starts lecturing the boy he is with about right and wrong and about how to do things. The boy doesn't know how to ride and James just tells him about how he will get the hang of it and everything will be fine. James has only been riding himself for a couple of days and now he is an expert? He was a little too Mary Sue. Jumping in to help anyone no matter what. Giving away money, never wanting to haggle. It is alright to keep some of your ideals but he seemed to ignore how this world worked. (hide spoiler)] I skimmed through the last 30% of the book. It was boring and nothing happened. I also didn't understand the MC's goal, and the things he was doing to accomplish his unknown goal were insane. (view spoiler)[ Going through a war zone to find a library, especially when no one told him that's what he needed to do. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    For what this is, it's fairly good. Unfortunately, what it is is the kind of book an agent or editor somewhere would reject as not-quite-good enough for publishing. I think it was self published, and thus we get a peak past the industry curtain at the embryonic novel. The good: the reasonably likable main character has an adventure and wins in the end. The bad: the plot is that of a video game and sometimes character interactions read like uninspired dialog trees. Let me give you an example. Or he For what this is, it's fairly good. Unfortunately, what it is is the kind of book an agent or editor somewhere would reject as not-quite-good enough for publishing. I think it was self published, and thus we get a peak past the industry curtain at the embryonic novel. The good: the reasonably likable main character has an adventure and wins in the end. The bad: the plot is that of a video game and sometimes character interactions read like uninspired dialog trees. Let me give you an example. Or hero, James, falls on his head into a land of myth and magic. He faces some low level monsters, gets a bit more powerful. Faces more monsters, gets his butt handed to him but is rescued at the last moment. Returns the favor by aiding his rescuer when the rescuer is attacked. Is rewarded. Finds another person in danger, rescues them, is rewarded. Moves on to the next town. On the way, finds another person in danger, rescues them, is rewarded. Reaches to the next town. Finds out that to learn more about his quest he must rescue someone. Rescues them... You remember playing that campaign? Yeah, me to. The interactions with money lenders are particularly painful. I kept expecting to have to click some chunk of text to confirm I wanted to withdrawal the specified amount from my character bank. That being said, I may checkout the sequels to this novel because I think they could be good as Pratt starts asking himself more questions about where the plot is going and how the minor characters are motivated. Take the first town. It's a small place that probably doesn't have the middle ages equivalent of big city amenities such as a blacksmith, miller, or doctor. War is looming in the distance (as it often is in video games). I'd think the citizens of a town like that would work pretty hard to get a mage to settle there permanently. His spells could easily clear up a lot of their day-to-day problems and when the war arrives he could throw fireballs. Do they point him at an abandoned house they could fix up? (The story does contains one no one else would want.) A pretty and eligible girl? Does he take the deal? After all he's chasing a very thin hint of knowledge with very little skill or equipment. Taking a month or year or two to prepare might be pretty smart. Or maybe the villagers are so scared of magic they try to kill him instead. Either way the plot would be more interesting with that unpredictability and those relationships. But it's not a huge jump to make. This story has the basics: decent description, an acceptable protagonist. Maybe Pratt makes the jump in his next novel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Michael

    This book was a difficult read. I enjoyed the story line and the character development but found several issues that kept it from being and outstanding book. There were several incongruities that just nagged at me as I read the story. I found several references in the story that just seemed out of date. One point in particular was when the youth was comparing his surreal experience to 'The Twilight Zone'. I sincerely doubt that a youth of today, especially one that spent nearly all his time read This book was a difficult read. I enjoyed the story line and the character development but found several issues that kept it from being and outstanding book. There were several incongruities that just nagged at me as I read the story. I found several references in the story that just seemed out of date. One point in particular was when the youth was comparing his surreal experience to 'The Twilight Zone'. I sincerely doubt that a youth of today, especially one that spent nearly all his time reading books, would even know about Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. Another point that detracted from the story line was a juxtaposition of the narrative view point. At several points in the story it seemed that it switched from omniscient to personal narrative and then back again. It may have just been a need for a good editor but the rapid shift made me reread several passages. Brian has a good story line and being the start of a series the story line got me intrigued but I doubt that I'll pick up the sequels just due to the issues described above.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    I had a bit of a hard time with this book at times, jumping from first person to third person back and forth and so manny typos. The story line was good and about halfway through you find the rhythm, just to be left in a lurch with the way it ends. 969 pages was a bit crazy, yet I still find myself wanting to read book 2. There are 7 all together, help me now :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maxine

    did not finish.. was like having teeth pulled.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Hated it. The story drug on forever. Never finished it, got too bored.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Penny Potts

    Surprised by a YA novel! Brian S. Pratt has written a masterful CLEAN novel about a young man on the brink of adulthood who steps into an alternate world where magic lives, but modern conveniences are not involved. James makes a true friend, learns that his grandfather’s lessons are true no matter where you are. A good read, exciting adventures, an earnest quest and life lessons to be learned...a rare commodity in today’s society.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elspeth

    Just wasn't holding my interest. Just wasn't holding my interest.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Wood

    I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did. But alas, I did not. I seriously considered giving this book one star, but I honestly have trouble doing so for a book I did finish to its end because one star to me means it is pure crap and by finishing it, there must have been something in there that convinced me to not put it aside and read something different. Now the concept being this book is unoriginal. Many other books follow the script of someone in the real world suddenly finds themselves in a I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did. But alas, I did not. I seriously considered giving this book one star, but I honestly have trouble doing so for a book I did finish to its end because one star to me means it is pure crap and by finishing it, there must have been something in there that convinced me to not put it aside and read something different. Now the concept being this book is unoriginal. Many other books follow the script of someone in the real world suddenly finds themselves in a mystical realm. The Narnia Chronicles did this as did the Landover Series, the Spiderwick Chronicles, and the Inkheart Trilogy. If I give it more thought, I am sure to come up with many more books like this. While the concept is not original, it does mean it is a script that works to inspire so many to follow it. So I certainly do not fault the author for it and in fact it was an aspect that helped draw me into reading this book. However, the author in his mind must have had a good reason to write this book in the present tense. Unfortunately, I never figured out this reason and it only served to make reading it disconcerting and distracting. I often caught my brain attempting to translate it into past tense in the course of the read and this prevented me from truly immersing myself into the book. In addition, the action scenes were quite disappointing. Reading a police report would be more exciting than the majority of the action in this book. They both state the details of what might have happened, but in a stale and dull manner. The settings for the action he created were all good settings, but time after time, the author failed to make it exciting and memorable. One term I greatly dislike that people seem to overuse is deus ex machina. In fact, whenever you are dealing with magic in a book, the likelihood of it appearing is just that much more as magic is a great way to solve all of life's problems. For this reason, I tend to have a bit more leniency towards its use in a fantasy-related book. But in this book it seemed so overwhelming that it passed my threshold of tolerance in it to make me feel the need to invoke the deus ex machina card. It reached a point where I started to not care about what happened in scenes as I knew the main character was just going to use magic and continue on his way. A situation seems helpless? Let's use magic and let the deus ex machina move us along to the next scene. Do I care about what happens to the characters in the next book? Not really, I'm sure the main character is going to use his magic and deus ex machina will do its thing. In summary, I don't want to say this was a bad book. It did have its moments. But when I ask myself if I would recommend this book to anybody, my answer is no I would not. If you are looking for a book in which somebody from the real world finds themselves in a mystical realm, there are far more other books out there I would recommend you reading before this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    I was very tempted to give this e-book one star. The only saving grace that gave it two was that there were some entertaining aspects. Some of the fight sequences between James and his adversaries were fairly creative. Pretty much that's the only thing that saved this book. James the protaganist, while likeable, was groan-worthily Christ-like. Unfortunately, it made me like him less. Also his obsession with hygeine bordered on germaphobic. Miko was fairly likeable, but it didn't appear as if Prat I was very tempted to give this e-book one star. The only saving grace that gave it two was that there were some entertaining aspects. Some of the fight sequences between James and his adversaries were fairly creative. Pretty much that's the only thing that saved this book. James the protaganist, while likeable, was groan-worthily Christ-like. Unfortunately, it made me like him less. Also his obsession with hygeine bordered on germaphobic. Miko was fairly likeable, but it didn't appear as if Pratt formed Miko with a lot of thought. He lacked depth, although he functioned in his role as sidekick rather well. I think that Pratt focused too much on the inconsequential details of inn-life instead of focusing on the plot - which at times seemed aimless. Was there any point in describing how the tubs were removed from the room after bathing? Pratt seemed to get caught-up in outlining every moment of every day even though it wasn't pertinent to the overall plot. At times, I got the sense that Pratt was showing off his knowledge or that he has some OC personality disorder. Less would have been more in this case. Additionally, while Pratt used an impressive vocabulary, his writing was generally poor and confusing. I almost quit reading when "jambed pact" was substituted in for "jam-packed". It wasn't a complete loss. There were some good ideas. However, Pratt would have got a significantly better review from me if he had flirted with sentence structure a bit more and edited better.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Probably one of the lamest books I've ever read. 1. Very amateur writing. Tons of action verbs are used over and over (nodding, explaining, asking), and the sentence structure is a bit weird sometimes. "Okay" and other modern words were used frequently in this non-modern world. And the authors couldn't even be consistent in choosing "ok" or "okay." 2. The characters were 1/2-dimensional. There are two types of people in this world: Gruff and rude, and kind and polite. Almost nothing else. 3. Unr Probably one of the lamest books I've ever read. 1. Very amateur writing. Tons of action verbs are used over and over (nodding, explaining, asking), and the sentence structure is a bit weird sometimes. "Okay" and other modern words were used frequently in this non-modern world. And the authors couldn't even be consistent in choosing "ok" or "okay." 2. The characters were 1/2-dimensional. There are two types of people in this world: Gruff and rude, and kind and polite. Almost nothing else. 3. Unrealistic. In so many cases, it seems like the authors only experience with the outdoor world might have been roleplaying games. Small things were overlooked. For example, the main character goes to a creek and spears a fish big enough for two hungry people. Creeks don't often have fish big enough to fill one person, much less two. 4. The magic was never really explained. What rules? Why can the main character do big magical workings and then faint after small ones a few days later? Plus, he went to all this trouble to make a "river elemental", a tornado, etc. He could have just imagined that all their hearts stopped beating instead of wasting a ton of effort making an earthquake that just shook people.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Reynoso

    Let's start with what works. The book is imaginative, easy to read, and filled with magic & adventure. I like the way the main character, James, learns how to use magic - it's done in a very realistic, believable way. I also like the easy flow in the language of the book. But on the same token, there are some issues. The book ends with no real resolution. The Unsuspecting Mage is book one of a series, but it should stand on its own, and I kept thinking as I was reading toward the end that there Let's start with what works. The book is imaginative, easy to read, and filled with magic & adventure. I like the way the main character, James, learns how to use magic - it's done in a very realistic, believable way. I also like the easy flow in the language of the book. But on the same token, there are some issues. The book ends with no real resolution. The Unsuspecting Mage is book one of a series, but it should stand on its own, and I kept thinking as I was reading toward the end that there didn't seem to be any resolution to the problems in the story. In addition, the novel meandered along seemingly on one level. There were a few parts that elevated in intensity but not by much. I would have liked the story to arch a bit more, to climb the mountain of the plot until the height of the adventure, and then leave us with a hook to continue into the next book. But then again, that's just my opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    I obtained this book free through Barnes and Noble on my Nook. While I appreciate the elements of the story, I do believe the author would have benefited from an editor. The grammar and style errors were somewhat distracting, especially the author's tendency to shift points of view between characters in the middle of scenes (sometimes paragraphs!) with no transition, so it becomes a somewhat confusing read. Also, an editor would have really helped in trimming some of the repetitive and meanderin I obtained this book free through Barnes and Noble on my Nook. While I appreciate the elements of the story, I do believe the author would have benefited from an editor. The grammar and style errors were somewhat distracting, especially the author's tendency to shift points of view between characters in the middle of scenes (sometimes paragraphs!) with no transition, so it becomes a somewhat confusing read. Also, an editor would have really helped in trimming some of the repetitive and meandering side notes to the story. Sometimes I felt like I had dropped into a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel, and it was easy to anticipate when the "forks in the road" were set to appear. That being said, I did finish the book, the author did spend quite some time in developing the "world" in which the story is set, and the premise was entertaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mattr

    If only I were 12 again. Willing and able to read a rambling, poorly described series whose protagonist (Mary Sue alert) is dumped into a magical world he alone of all he knows is capable of surviving. I would have empathized with his D&D skills, his possession of knowledge not practical in modern day to day life, etc. Unfortunately, I'm not 12 and this book wasn't marketed as YA. I wouldn't even be able to recommend this to kids, because it wouldn't challenge them. Don't get me wrong - we all l If only I were 12 again. Willing and able to read a rambling, poorly described series whose protagonist (Mary Sue alert) is dumped into a magical world he alone of all he knows is capable of surviving. I would have empathized with his D&D skills, his possession of knowledge not practical in modern day to day life, etc. Unfortunately, I'm not 12 and this book wasn't marketed as YA. I wouldn't even be able to recommend this to kids, because it wouldn't challenge them. Don't get me wrong - we all love and enjoy a bit of escapist fluff, but we need it not to pretend to be otherwise. Even escapist fluff needs to bring me to a world with some vivid, enjoyable features. I would continue dissecting my dislike of the series, but I only made it two novels in. Giving a new author the chance to evolve by the second book was as much as I could take of this.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I am the sort of person who will read almost anything all the way to the last page regardless. It takes quite a bit to get me to give up reading something mid stream. That said, I couldn't finish this. The tense and the writing style just drove me up the wall. The concept was an old standby....modern kid gets dumped into alternate/fantasy reality and has to cope. It was refreshing that some of the mundane issues inhearent in such a situation were not glossed over. Unfortunately, I just could not I am the sort of person who will read almost anything all the way to the last page regardless. It takes quite a bit to get me to give up reading something mid stream. That said, I couldn't finish this. The tense and the writing style just drove me up the wall. The concept was an old standby....modern kid gets dumped into alternate/fantasy reality and has to cope. It was refreshing that some of the mundane issues inhearent in such a situation were not glossed over. Unfortunately, I just could not keep with it long enough to see if the character development and plot line panned out into something different than the standard tropes associated with the premise.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Gary Stu in a fantasy setting while inconsistently and poorly written and this is The Unsuspecting Mage. If it wasn't free, I wouldn't have gotten it and if I didn't need to catch up with my book challenge, I wouldn't have kept reading until the end. (And even then, I admittedly glazed over quite a few large portions where nothing but James bragging or being mystically better than everyone was going on.) I recommend staying the hell away from this book. Gary Stu in a fantasy setting while inconsistently and poorly written and this is The Unsuspecting Mage. If it wasn't free, I wouldn't have gotten it and if I didn't need to catch up with my book challenge, I wouldn't have kept reading until the end. (And even then, I admittedly glazed over quite a few large portions where nothing but James bragging or being mystically better than everyone was going on.) I recommend staying the hell away from this book.

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