I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on September 12 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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The nitty-gritty: Fast and furious, violent and action-packed, this story will make you wish you had magical powers!
Brad Abraham’s debut is being billed as “Harry Potter meets James Bond” and after reading Magicians Impossible I have to say that’s a pretty good description. I had several Harry Potter flashback moments while reading this, and I could almost hear the James Bond theme song playing in the background during some of the more thrilling action scenes. Abraham’s debut is fast-paced, and if you love stories about warring factions in the magical world, then you will really enjoy this book.
Jason Bishop is your average thirty-year-old. His year-long relationship with his girlfriend Winnie is starting to show cracks, but he’s mostly happy–except for that nagging feeling he’s always had that he’s destined for something much bigger than his small, ordinary life. He just doesn’t know what that is.
Jason has escaped his childhood hometown of Cold Spring, but when his estranged father suddenly commits suicide, Jason finds himself back there for the funeral. Trying to imagine his father jumping off a highrise is hard enough, but a run-in after the funeral with a strange man named Carter Block changes Jason’s life in a flash. Carter belongs to a group of magicians known as the Invisible Hand, and he’s come to deliver the news that Jason is in danger from a rival group of magicians known as the Golden Dawn. Before you can say “Abracadabra,” Jason is literally running for his life, swept up in a hidden world of magic and mages. He finds himself in a strange fortress called the Citadel, where mages of all levels live and train, readying themselves for the ultimate showdown with the Golden Dawn.
As Jason’s powers grow, he makes some startling discoveries about his past–specifically his absentee father Dan who he’s resented his entire life. And when the Invisible Hand gets wind of a powerful magical artifact, it’s up to Jason to lead his new friends on a quest to find it, before the Golden Dawn can claim it for their own.
From the exciting and shockingly violent opening chapter, Abraham gives us a world where magic is real but is hidden from the “mundanes.” I really enjoyed the world-building, especially when Jason moves into the Citadel, an immense structure that seems to exist out of time, and contains not only a training school-like setting, but a hallway filled with thousands of doors, each one leading to a different place. It created an interesting (although maybe too convenient) way for mages to quickly get from one place to another. I also liked the different powers that mages wield. I won’t go into all the details here, but each level of magic has a particular skill set, and mages can do anything from manipulating objects through space to even flying. One of my favorite details in the story was that Jason adopts his weapon of choice from his father: a deck of playing cards that become lethal in his hands.
I didn’t really connect with all the characters, but there was one in particular who quickly became my favorite, and I wouldn’t mind an entire story that revolved around her. Allegra is a mage with a terribly sad back-story, and I loved every scene she was in. I think the fact that the author gave her so much rich history is the reason I loved her character, and I wish there had been more like Allegra.
I’ll admit I almost gave this book a three-and-a half star rating, but Jason’s emotional journey pushed it up to four stars. Abraham does a great job of delving into Jason’s past and tying together one particular event that not only explains why he’s a Mage, but creates a strong emotional connection to his father. I’m always looking for characters with layers, and despite some of Jason’s less than appealing traits, these flashbacks added a great deal to his character.
Although I had a great time with Magicians Impossible, it wasn’t a perfect book, and it definitely has the feel of a debut. Abraham’s writing is a little rough around the edges in places, and could have used a bit more editing in my opinion. I also found the story confusing at times, especially the relationship between the Invisible Hand and the Golden Dawn. Magicians Impossible is one of those stories where the characters pretend to be one thing but end up as something else entirely, and the almost constant shifting from good to bad and back again made my head spin.
My other issue had to do with the ease of Jason’s introduction into the hidden world of magic. Ironically, Jason himself says something along the lines of “I’m definitely not a special snowflake,” but then Abraham proceeds to make him just that. Amazingly, Jason climbs the ladder of types of magicians with dizzying speed, proving that he is indeed an ultra special mage, the likes of which no one has seen before. Within minutes of entering the Citadel and beginning his training, he’s mastered the first few levels of magic and stunned his instructors. I can only think that the author did this to hurry things along, because there is actually a lot going on in this story, and he clearly wanted to get past the basics and into the main action. This is a big story, and the page count almost felt too small to contain it.
But despite those issues, I had a blast with this book. I read the last page with a grin on my face, and I can’t help but wonder what Brad Abraham will think of next.
Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.