4 out of 4 stars
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While I'm usually not the biggest fan of fantasy fiction, the plot of Jester Bobbity’s novel, Maker, caught my eye. Hoping for a light, enjoyable read, imagine my surprise as the story immediately pulled me into a world of action, magic, epic battles, and unlikely heroes.
Maker is not your typical wizard nor hero character. Still recovering from an unbelievably traumatic childhood, he works together with his apprentice, Zora, making a living selling potions to humans, stealing from the local vampires, and generally ridding the city of the more dangerous and troublesome monsters.
By no means a powerful wizard, Maker often prefers to retreat rather than rush foolhardy into the fray, considering logic rather than emotion in times of battle. However, when a local group of warlocks, wizards, and shapeshifters led by Blackstar, bring the battle to him, he’s forced to fight like he never has before. Will he and Zora be able to survive this battle and will they manage to stop Blackstar before he unleashes an unspeakable evil upon the world?
Brilliantly written in first person, the author manages to mix both action and magic in a real-world setting in a way I haven’t come across before. The easiest way to describe it would be if you were to combine Patrick Rothfuss and Lee Child, or even Harry Potter and John Wick. While there are a lot of fight scenes and violence they were never too graphic or unnecessary.
What I especially enjoyed were the characters. Maker is so realistically flawed and is a mix of both good and bad characteristics that the reader is behind him 100%. Fully aware of the limitations of his power, dealing with mental flashbacks of torture and abuse, as well as the physical toll all the fighting has on his body, it's amazing that he can function at all. Yet this exhaustion is portrayed so well that his struggle is believable.
The relationship as a mentor which he has with Zora is based a lot on mutual respect. Zora is quick-witted, violence-hungry and sharp-tongued, often providing some much needed comic relief. Able to move at super speeds, she comes to Maker’s aid when he needs it most, in spite of whatever their original plan may have been.
The villains in the story come in many forms and are described with wonderful imagery. The reader feels no compassion for them whatsoever, yet they do not come across as fake or cartoonish in their villainy.
Overall this was an excellent, well-edited book and I begrudged any time that I was pulled away from reading it. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. This is definitely for any fantasy fan and especially for those who enjoy the mix of magic and action while still based in a real-world setting. As the first book in the series, I immediately checked online for the sequel which sadly hasn’t been written yet. I will eagerly watch for its publication so that I can continue with Maker’s story.
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