I downloaded C J Thompson’s The Forgotten Wizard because it was free, the cover was cool, and the it sounded like it had a cool concept (a world where wizards used to exist but have gone extinct, except for rumors of one being found).
The plot moves. Some self-published authors don’t have a plot with legs. This one, while not having many twists (and there’s a reason for that I’ll get into in the “What Didn’t Work for Me” section) did keep the action moving forward.
Aside from a few lacking details, the world was well enough described that I could imagine it in my mind just fine. The world was interesting enough and contained one detail that was really imaginative that I really enjoyed.
The prose and author voice were not distracting. And there were almost no annoying typos to trip me up.
What Didn’t Work for Me:
This is a very short book. That in itself is not a problem, but this story did not reach it’s full length. If I had read this without knowing it would end in the 12th chapter, I would have assumed that I had read about 1/4 of the story. The story ends with what would be in other books the end of Act 1. This leads to the next criticism.
The plot contained virtually no plot twists. This makes sense if you view this story as Act 1 of a larger whole, since usually Act 1 ends with a rather story-changing plot twist that leads the characters down a new road.
Character development was rather shallow as well. This could also be ascribed to its length, but I would also mention a few additional points:
1. The main character’s motivations and emotions are not shown to us so much as told to us. Instead of seeing him struggle in the plot with the illness of his father, we’re just told that he can’t go on without his father.
2. The relationship with his friend, Tristan, undergoes a radical change from the first scene to the second. In the first, they are nothing but buddies with seemingly no conflict, then in the next we see surfacing multiple quarrels under the surface. I think these should have been better hinted at in their first scene.
3. The main character’s voice wasn’t particularly unique or interesting.
The world-building felt somewhat generic. All of the fantasy elements seemed too derivative to be truly inspiring.
The Forgotten Wizard as the start of a series failed to grab my attention on a deep-enough level to pull me in for the rest of the series. Kudos to the author for giving this story away for free, however. It’s short enough that anyone interested should not hesitate to download it and give a shot themselves.