Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic by Richard Blunt

Lucas Trent, a typically nerdy guy who doesn’t really have any friends, has one interest that is not shared by anyone around him; magic and the supernatural. Little does he know that the world of magic extends to much more than he believes – he may even possess a little talent for it himself.

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when I received this book (courtesy of – I was glad to have a new fantasy book in my hands, a fresh slate I could dive into to explore uncharted worlds (insert obligatory Star Trek reference here). What I did end up getting was… well, it was interesting. Not exactly what I wanted, you could say.

This is about as light reading as you could ever possibly imagine from something that’s not, in fact, a childrens’ or teens’ book. The book itself is super short – clocking in at a mere 251 pages (which, I suppose, is good if you want something short you could finish within a day or so) – and the writing takes the meaning of “basic” to an extreme level. There really isn’t any artisticness or flow to it at all (metaphors? HA! What are those?) and detail where it would be welcome is all but completely and totally absent (in other words, details about things like, you know, MAGIC would be more welcome than details about making breakfast). Dialogue is often guilty of feeling clunky and forced, rarely feeling as natural as it should. This was a severe enough case that I often found it painfully jarring, and… Well, I could go on, but I think you’ve got the idea at this point.

Going back to the whole detail issue for a moment, let me cite an instance where the detail was absolutely needed the most but was, unfortunately, missing the most too. We see the newly formed circle of mages struggle with making any sort of progress with spellcasting or anything of that nature. So far so good, right? Right. After a certain series of events (but there is still that whole “spoiler” rule I’ll keep myself to, so I won’t spoil everything) they all accidentally use their powers during one event; most of them don’t know how to control it, but this proves it can at least be done, even if they really have no idea about where to go from here. At this point you would probably rightfully assume that we would see this little group fine tune their powers (time for some Rocky training sequence, awww yeah!). WRONG! We see that they will have to try to get somewhere with their magic, but rather than show us these character-building triumphs and failures, we immediately go a year in the future to when they’ve mastered their talents. Smooth transitions for the… loss?

This was a problem with the characters in general, however; none of them received enough development to really become their own people. Sure, individually they were likable enough, but together they just sorta merged into one being. It’s like what happened with Star Wars: Allegiance, except there are no lightsabers or badass hawtness Sith assassins to sweeten the deal. Sure, they have their powers to distinguish themselves most of the time, but you shouldn’t have only something like that to be able to remember which character is who and nothing else. Oh, but you can tell some of them about by gender, too, with two of them being woman and the rest men. Their roles were basically “the woman. I wouldn’t say any of the writing involving them was sexist, per se, but I certainly would say it was made clear that their defining traits were simply being women. And I’m not one of those annoying feminist women, either. It takes a lot for me to notice these things.

The story… Well, here’s the thing. It’s really basic – REALLY REALLY basic – but if the writing had been better, I know that the story would probably have reflected that and it would’ve seemed better, too. Of course, I could be wrong in assuming that because the plot was also so damn unoriginal. It wants to be Harry Potter, but, well… it’s not. Oh boy it’s not. There’s not much else to say about it other than that it’s an unoriginal, uncreative Harry Potter rip off.

I’m willing to admit when someone needs a break, however. This is Richard Blunt’s first book, and seeing as how he’s Austrian and English isn’t his primary language – according to his site, anyway – you can’t expect his writing to be perfect. What this should’ve remained for a long time until he ironed out the details was a draft for a better, more detailed and fluid book. He has potential to get better in time, but as of right now, I really wouldn’t recommend picking up Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic.

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