Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Accidental Sorcerer Book Review

Title: The Accidental Sorcerer
Author: K.E. Mills
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 530
ISBN: 9780316035422

The Accidental Sorcerer is the first book in the Rogue Agent Series, written by K.E. Mills and published by Orbit Publishing.
When I first picked up The Accidental Sorcerer and began to read, I quickly realized that it read much like a mature knock-off of Harry Potter. Which, the more I continued to read, the more I wanted it to be. Sadly, it only lasted for the first one hundred or so pages. It then quickly turns into something completely different than what I thought it would. To say that this book kept me surprised until the end would be an understatement.

The Accidental Sorcerer is the story of Gerald Dunwoody, and his transformation from Third Grade Wizard to King Lionel of New Ottosland's new Court Wizard. It all starts with a bang, after Gerald blows up a factory trying to save it, working as a Third Grade Wizard inspector -- a job usually held by a Second Grade Wizard at the very least -- for one of the most famous wand makers in the country.

Out of a job, and a stain on the Ministry's reputation, Third Grade Wizard Dunwoody is distraught, until his close friend Monk Markham recommends he look in the newspaper for potential employees. To his surprise, Gerald finds an add: New Ottosland is looking for a new Court Wizard. Hired on the spot, Gerald moves into his new position as Court Wizard, and struggles to keep it together as things begin to spiral out of control all around him.

Will this new position make, or break Gerald Dunwoody? With an interesting choice of characters, K.E. Mills -- a pen name for author Karen Miller -- fills the pages of The Accidental Sorcerer with some of the most memorable characters that I've read in the last several years. Between Monk Markham, one of the most brilliant minds working for the Ministry, and one of Dunwoody's best friends; Reg, a talking bird and one of Gerald's closest friends who eximplifies the Transformer's motto: "more than meets the eye," there's enough humor to make the reader smile, even in the last half of the book.

With all writers, they have their strong points, and the weak ones. As I read I couldn't help but fall in love with the characters of The Accidental Sorcerer, but as I read on, deeper and deeper into the novel, I couldn't help but ask questions concerning the government of New Ottosland and the running of it. For me, Mills fails at developing the kingdom of New Ottosland, instead sacrificing it for further development of the characters.

At 530 pages, The Accidental Sorcerer is by no means a brick of a book, but neither is it your typical 80,000 word, 320 page novel. Mills is bordering on what I consider to be the "King Syndrome": aptly named after horror author Stephen King, who takes freakin' forever to get anywhere with his books. I think a large portion of this book could have been boiled down, or all together cut out to make a more solid and well rounded novel. I'm necessarily recommending cutting it down to 320 pages, but instead bringing it down to the 450 page range, would have helped the books in some serious ways.

In the end, I throughly enjoyed reading The Accidental Sorcerer. Mills has done what many authors out there today can't necessarily do: make me invest in the characters, and want to know what happens next. Besides a weaker ending than what I would have liked, I can't wait to see where Mills takes the reader next with the second book of the Rogue Agent Trilogy, that's why I'm giving The Accidental Sorcerer 7.5 out of 10 TARDIS's.

If you enjoy character development, without the technical infodumps and overly long explanations for everything, I would highly encourage you to pick up The Accidental Sorcerer the next time you hit your local bookstore.


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