Gerald is not a very successful wizard, moving from job to job and managing only to master third grade spells. When he is involved in an accident at the most prestigious wand-making factory it looks like his career is well and truly over, but then he sees an advert for a new court wizard to King Lional of New Ottosland. In a rash moment, he applies for and accepts this job, expecting an easy life entertaining royalty and impressing the natives. If only life was that simple…
At first glance, ‘The Accidental Sorcerer’ is a comic fantasy featuring an accident-prone wizard and a cast of misfit characters but, like its protagonist, there’s much more than first meets the eye. K.E. Mills, which is a pseudonym of Karen Miller, has created an entertaining fantasy world with a light-hearted story that develops into something that is at times very dark.
It’s very difficult not to like Gerald, the bumbling but well-meaning wizard who just wants to get along with his third grade job and do the best he can with his limited powers. Yet, of course, as with all great heroes, when he is confronted with evil and finds a princess in need of assistance, he steps up to the mark admirably and it’s a joy to watch him develop throughout the story.
This book isn’t a solo show, though, and there’s some real entertainment to be had from the other characters. There’s a princess, even if she doesn’t like to behave like one with her dowdy clothes and librarian-like habits. A talking bird, actually an enchanted witch, gives some real laugh out loud moments and I think she has most of the best lines of speech in the whole book. A bumbling butterfly-collecting prince and of course an evil and psychotic king pretty much complete the line-up but even the smaller characters in this story each bring something extra to the tale.
The plot isn’t ground-breaking, an evil king must be stopped to save the kingdom from certain doom, but that doesn’t matter. As with many fantasy novels, it is all about how the story is told and how the characters carry you along with them in their adventures. In this respect, I have no complaints. I’ve read and loved several of Karen Miller’s books and the same level of detail that I’ve previously enjoyed is present in this one.
‘The Accidental Sorcerer’ is a fun read with dark moments and provides a few hours of really enjoyable reading. It probably won’t challenge you but it will almost certainly entertain and provide a few laughs for a grey day. I can only hope the series continues in the same way in book two.
(pub: Orbit. 488 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-727-3)
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net