Doug's Reviews > A Mage of None Magic

A Mage of None Magic by A. Christopher Drown
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I have had the pleasure of reading other, shorter works by this author, and I'm happy to say that his first novel length work is quite a competent effort.

I've read a fair bit of fantasy, and any initial piece of writing in a fantasy world has a couple of tremendous disdavantages to overcome. The first is that it has to establish an entire world for the reader, without reading like a textbook. Long passages of dry exposition, family trees and history are poison to fantasy novels, and Drown succeeds in setting up his world efficiently and almost subversively. Aside from a few clunky but necessary passages about how or why things work the way they do in his world, he uses the flow of the narrative and characterization to explain the mechanics of the speculative reality he has created. His economy is much appreciated and vital, given the relative briefness of the book.

The second problem that a lot of fantasy has are the somewhat stale nature of the characters and journeys that the characters take. Drown's protagonist, Niel, seemingly suffers from the "chosen one" syndrome that a lot of main characters suffer from. However, Drown has used your expectations against you in a clever way. Niel's journey, and his discoveries, point in one clear direction, until a single truth he uncovers turns everything on its ear, and sets the stage for a character driven, high fantasy tale in the books to follow.

Predestination is used simply as stage dressing, despite the level of immersion that the characters have in it, and like any good magician, Drown keeps you distracted by that predestination fire while he slips a unique and intriging story under your eyes without you even noticing.

The weakest part of the book in my opinion are the supporting characters. I spoke above of the staleness of a lot of fantasy these days, and Niel's supporting cast suffer from that, however with such a limited amount of time to develop them, Drown succeeds in making them different enough from each other that by the end of the book, I was able to guess at their responses and actions. As it is intended to be a series, I have no qualms in placing my trust in Drown to fill out these additional characters in future books.

I think Mage of None Magic is a worthy opening chapter into what I hope will be a long and regulalry published series of novels.
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Reading Progress

June 11, 2009 – Shelved
June 11, 2009 –
page 80
June 16, 2009 –
page 183
June 18, 2009 –
page 244
Started Reading
June 19, 2009 – Finished Reading

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