A Free Dreamer Review: In the Name of Magic by Chris Bedell

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

Non-magical people are being demonized and falsely blamed for Magnifico’s economic problems after Queen Vivian’s bloody rise to power. But politics very quickly becomes more than abstract views to argue when secret police wolves are deployed throughout the country to kill those born without magical abilities.

Seventeen-year-old Maximillian’s best friend Katherine is one such nonmagical person. In a bid to keep her safe, Maximillian turns to the queen’s estranged younger brother, a man thought to be dead until recently.

Prince Stefan is nineteen years old and has been in hiding from his family for years. He has no desire to resurface in the political world, but Maximillian must convince him that the country needs him before it is too late.

Ninestar Press has a lot of brilliant LGBT+ Fantasy books, so I was really excited about “In the Name of Magic”. Sadly, it was a huge let-down.

The only interesting thing in the entire book was the idea that it was non-magical people being persecuted by magicals. Usually, it’s the other way round. But I still don’t know why the non-magicals were so hated. It takes only a few months till they’re held in concentration camps and killed quite openly. But why??? The whole story about the hatred of non-magicals essentially read like a badly written historical novel about WW2, with “Jews” swapped for “people without magic”. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like books about WW2.

Since this was obviously inspired by WW2, some pretty horrible things happened. But the characters were all extremely blasé about it. I mean, Katherine finds the bodies of her gruesomely murdered parents. Her reaction? “Oh dear.” A few pages later, she’s busy thinking about whether or not to dump her boyfriend. Seriously?

Maximillian was horrible. He keeps insisting how he’s a good son and always obedient and so on. All the while, he’s lying to his parents, sneaking around, drinking alcohol, and some other pretty horrible stuff, and he never ever has to face the consequences of his actions.

Stefan was just a poor little rich kid. We are told he had a horrible childhood and decided to run away from home. And the most horrible thing we learn is that his sister got more presents than he did. Oh, woe me.

There is zero world-building. All we learn about magic is that it exists. It’s sort of implied that it’s hereditary, I guess, but that’s it. How does it work? Do you need somebody to teach you? Do you learn this stuff at school? The magic seemed to have no influence on the world itself. Not that we learn all that much about that either. Big chunks of the plot just didn’t make sense. If you can teleport, why do you need cars?

And oh my gosh, the writing style. It was just so weird. “He elevated his eyebrows.” “He beamed his eyes.” Really? This was practically screaming for an editor. After a while, I just skipped paragraphs and only read the dialogue, which was tolerable.

When I told a friend about this book, she said, “So, essentially, the very first idea the author had for this book had potential, but the whole rest was just plain bad?” And that’s a pretty adequate summary. I suppose the ending (which I thought made no sense) calls for a sequel. But not with me, thank you very much.

The cover by Natasha Snow is a bit generic and doesn’t really fit the story. It looks more like a post-apocalyptic setting.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 185 pages
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781949909005
Edition Language English

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