2 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever wanted to learn to play the guitar to impress ladies? Maybe you've even learned a few well-known riffs or chords to play at parties! That's basically what Maxx did in Jazzman: A Prophetic Love Story by V. Prophetess Haizlip, except that he learned to play the sax and became Jazzman. While Jazzman has no superpowers, he does get a LOT of girls.
Unfortunately for Maxx, his ego has become so strong that it's personified by an ethereal being that Maxx calls Stone Cutter. Stone Cutter's one purpose in life is to protect Maxx's fragile heart by encasing it in an indestructible fortress forever. If Stone Cutter succeeds, Maxx can sleep around to his heart's content without ever worrying about having his heart broken again. But when he arrives in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, a mysterious woman makes Maxx want to give real love another chance.
The concept of Jazzman: A Prophetic Love Story is excellent. However, the execution left a lot to be desired. For one, the "mysterious woman" is a bit too much of a mystery. Maxx mentions that she "looked all of nineteen," but there's no mention of her actual age or even her name. Worse, despite "nineteen" being the only number thrown around for her, she says one of the marriages lasted seven years. Maxx also has an odd fixation on how "childlike" and "innocent" she seems, which sounds poetic at first but quickly becomes creepy, especially since Maxx is 35.
I also expected way more depth in the various conflicts in the book. Stone Cutter comes off as a powerful ethereal being that's pulling strings in Maxx's life, but the way this conflict is settled is equally creative and disappointing. With the book weighing in at less than 25 pages, there wasn't much room for anything aside from the relationship between the mysterious woman and Maxx, but the relationship could've been deeper as well. For example, the relationship is shown to affect Maxx's sax playing in ways he didn't expect. Then there's the subplot about Maxx hating that he's become so unpopular that he's stuck playing such a tiny town. He discovers there's a reviewer in town that may propel him back into the spotlight if the shows go well enough. But if Maxx succeeds and becomes famous again, he'd go on the road more, which would conflict with the mysterious woman's job (she owns the inn where Maxx stays). I can hardly choose what I want for lunch without some internal struggle, let alone deciding between settling down with someone I barely know in a place I've barely spent any time or following my dream of success, yet Maxx makes the choice so easily.
With these things said, there were some things I liked. I did enjoy the conversations that Maxx and the mysterious woman had, and how she opened up as she realized Maxx was really trying to give up his "unofficial harem." There was also some humor, and I really liked the times the book became a bit poetic with its descriptions of things. Jazz and poetry are a perfect combination, and I was hoping more of the book would flow so well. However, when these things are contrasted against the negatives, it's hard for me to recommend the book. People looking for a romantic short story who don't want a lot of depth and don't mind grammatical errors (I found 28 in total!) may still enjoy Jazzman: A Prophetic Love Story. I also appreciated that there wasn't any graphic sex in the book, although there is one (humorous) cuss word in the book. My rating is 2 out of 4 stars.
Jazzman: A Prophetic Lovestory
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