Wednesday, September 12, 2018

REVIEW: Wizard for Hire

Before Katrina and I even started dating, one of the first books she recommended to me was Leven Thumps by Obert Skye. It was weird, it was different, and I wanted more. Years later Katrina moved in and brought her Leven Thumps collection with her, but before I could get a chance to read them, book blogging got in the way. Luckily, Obert Skye has a new book out!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Wizard for Hire courtesy of Shadow Mountain.
Opinions are my own.

Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he'll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says "Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL." Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn't actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth--aka Rin--he's even more skeptical.

Wizard for Hire is the ultimate “don’t judge a book by its cover” book. If you were to look at this book you’d think it was a weird and quirky Harry Potter type middle-grade fantasy adventure. And you wouldn’t be wrong… but you wouldn’t really be right either.

Ozzy does meet an old man who calls himself a wizard, but the truth about Rin’s powers is left up in the air. He constantly talks about all of the mystical abilities he has but also goes out of the way to avoid using his powers at all costs. As Ozzy meets other individuals from Rin’s past, it becomes clear that Rin is just a weird old man and everyone in town thinks he’s crazy.

But there is also a talking robot bird in this book. So the ready is still given hope, reading every line out of Rin’s mouth, just wondering to themselves: “Maybe he really is a wizard?” He does achieve some magical feats that may be perceived as coincidence or dumb luck, but from Ozzy’s point of view, anything seems possible.

In fact, Ozzy’s point of view is a big part of this book’s crafting of believable fantasy in a not so fantasy world. The official plot synopsis implies that Ozzy’s family is taken from him when he’s fourteen and the very next day he calls for a wizard. Ozzy is actually only seven when his parents are taken and lives the next seven years in isolation with nothing but a talking robot bird to talk too.

The early chapters of fish out of water hijinks are my favorite. Before we even meet the wizard, Ozzy sneaks into town and covertly enrolls himself in school. He has little to no understanding of the world outside his secluded home. These scenes are adorable!

Wizard for Hire is a fantasy novel, just not in the way you think. It’s weird and different and it will make you think about what it really means to be magical. Click here to get your copy today.