Friday, June 26, 2015

The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills

When we're children, we all believe that we're going to be People of Historical Import. No one plays at being a mid-level bureaucrat on the playground -- we're all royalty, astronauts, spies, heroes.

Gerald Dunwoody was no different -- and, just like the vast majority of actual people, when he grew up he discovered that his imagined life of adventure was just a fairy tale. He grew up believing he'd be a great wizard, and instead, he's reduced to doing safety inspections at wand manufacturing plants, dismissed by coworkers, humiliated by neighbors higher up the wizarding food chain. He is miserable, he is unfulfilled... but he is employed, making a paycheck, paying the rent. Welcome to the real world, Gerald.

And then (as is wont to do in early chapters of fantasy novels) something inexplicable and amazing happens. On the scene as a disaster unfolds, Gerald acts on a heroic impulse and ends up saving the day in a way that ought to have been impossible for a wizard of his abilities. In the process he loses everything, but gains the realization that there may be more to himself than he had believed.

Abruptly unemployed, Gerald answers a job posting for a Court Wizard in a backwater kingdom headed up by a lunatic king and actually run by the frighteningly efficient and unprincessly princess. Put on the spot, he begins exploring his previously untapped talents... and that's when the trouble really starts!

First in a trilogy, The Accidental Sorcerer is a quick, fun, exciting read about a mediocre man coming into his own with the help of a slightly baffled crew of friends and colleagues, including a cantankerous queen-turned-bird, a wizarding prodigy, and the aforementioned princess. After they make a thorough mess of things in this book you can follow them along on their adventures starting a magical detective agency. Written for an adult audience, they are absolutely appropriate for teen readers; there are mild romantic threads here and there, but the emphasis is on capers, intrigue, magical battles, big explosions, and the occasional laugh-out-loud moment.

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