4 out of 4 stars
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One could say Wizardrous by J. A. Hinsvark is simply a humorous tale of magic, adventure, and inconvenient alliances, but that would be sugar-coating it. There is nothing simple about this story, and the characters are as outrageous as it gets- from an inept wizard with a drug problem to his mad scientist sorceress sister, to a pair of highly dysfunctional twin gnomes who have no business anywhere outside of a loony bin. There is also the unfortunate apprentice who cannot seem to catch a break. These hilariously wacky characters and more make up the magical kingdom of Koric, and they are about to embark on an epic quest.
A man known only as The Wizard hatches a half-baked plan to steal a priceless artifact from an underground vault. He is an unusual and lazy madman with a thing for drugs, alcohol, and mayhem. During the heist, he stumbles on a horrifying conspiracy linked to his family that has been perpetuated for centuries. Determined to expose the corruption and evade capture himself, The Wizard and his gang of zany accomplices set out to put a stop to the sinister scheme. Will he succeed, or is he destined for the same horrifying fate?
First off, Wizardrous is intended for mature audiences only. With recurrent themes of drugs, violence, sexual innuendos/implications, and heavy profanity, sensitive readers may want to steer clear of this book as well. Despite the themes, this book reads like a young adult fantasy/adventure novel. It is 395 pages of unbridled absurdity, satire, and humor. Once you adjust to the language and quirky style of writing, you are in for an undeniably wild and unforgettable ride. The story flowed at a fast pace, with intriguing twists and turns that were strategically placed to keep the reader engaged. The characters were as comical as they were entertaining, and the detailed writing gave the story a three-dimensional feel.
For me, character development was one of the high points of the book. I applaud the author's ability to write compellingly about characters many readers would find unrelatable. And what's more, it worked well for the storyline. Each person was intentionally created to be comical and obnoxious in one form or another to elevate the entertainment value of the plot. I did not like The Wizard all that much, but I often found him and his hare-brained antics quite amusing. His sister, Anasthasia, was a powerful sorceress from whose twisted mind was born nightmarish experiments. I have no words to describe the twin gnomes Knippe and Knorpe. As far as obnoxious characters go, those two take the cake. Then there was poor Jeff, The Wizard's cynical nephew and unfortunate apprentice. He was shanghaied on the foolish heist and nearly lost his life on several occasions. These and a host of other equally fascinating personalities brought the book to life.
Wizardrous is a very graphic novel, and there is a content warning to that effect. Nevertheless, I feel the author may have gone a bit overboard with the drugs and sexual innuendos. A fair amount of it was not relevant to the storyline. Either way, this is a subjective critique and in no way detracts from the overall quality of the story. This book would be best enjoyed by open-minded, mature readers of slapstick fantasy novels with a twisted sense of humor.
The book appeared professionally edited, with only about four visible typographical errors. The authentic plot, entertaining satirical humor, and commendable character development compels me to award Wizardrous a 4 out of 4 stars rating. From the way the book ended, it appears that a sequel is in order, and I look forward to another fun and captivating page-turner.
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