Wizard Squared by K. E. Mills – review

This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers 2013 Reading Challenge. All my 2013 AWWC reviews can be found here.


Wizard Squared cover

Wizard Squared is the third book in the Rogue Agent series by K. E. Mills. You can read my review of the first book in the series, The Accidental Sorcererhere and my review of the second book, Witches Incorporated, here. Those reviews cover a lot of my general thoughts on the world building and general background, so I’ll keep this review shorter and focused on the plot of this third book.

Wizard Squared is essentially a parallel reality story. In The Accidental Sorcerer, the protagonist (Gerald) makes certain noble decisions to resolve the plot. In Wizard Squared, the author postulates an alternate world where Gerald made other, less noble decisions and as a result warped himself into an evil sorcerer.

I thought this plot had a lot of possibilities, and was looking forward to reading the book. However, I wasn’t taken with the direction it went in. In some ways I am guilty of wanting a different book than the one the author wrote, which isn’t really fair.

The first section of the book retells the ending of The Accidental Sorcerer, but with the alternate ending. This went on for quite a long time – it almost lost me to be honest. I did wonder whether this kind of backstory might have been woven into the plot a little more seamlessly (and briefly).

Perhaps as a result of the extensive introduction, the rest of the story felt rushed and didn’t broaden the readers view of the world Mills has created as much as the previous two books. This was disappointing.

Evil Gerald was a little too “moustache twirling” for my tastes. He had gone completely and utterly bonkers, and because the conversion to cartoon evil was so complete, it was hard to summon the “there but for the grace of god” type feeling I think the reader was supposed to have. I think there was an opportunity to portray a more subtly evil Gerald, which would have made some of good Gerald’s decisions more complex and morally ambiguous.

I mentioned this in the review of Witches Incorporated, but the use of Gerald’s wild and unpredictable powers to resolve plot issues irked me particularly in this book. None of the character’s actions have much impact – Gerald’s power did most of the work. And his powers were not particularly under his control. So really, things worked out via luck more than anything else. I found this slightly unsatisfying.

As a stand alone book, I’d have trouble recommending this one. If you are enjoying the series overall (which I am), there is enough character progression to warrant reading, but don’t be afraid to skip a few pages where necessary

Fortunately (spoilers) I enjoyed the fourth book in the series (Wizard Undercover) a lot more.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.


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This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

 

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good.

OK, sometimes good.

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