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7 out of 10

Act of Will, by A. J. Hartley

Reviewed by Hank Quense
If you've read this book, why not

This is an interesting book about a young actor name Will Hawthorne. It takes place in a mythical world that uses magical artifacts. On Will's eighteen birthday, the army tires to arrest him for unknown reasons and has to escape from the theater by climbing through the roof. By accident, he falls in with a gang of rogues and leaves the city with them. To his chagrin, the rogues are off to meet their leader who has hired them out to a group of nobles who want them to stop a series of devastating raids by a mysterious band of soldiers. The plot gets complicated when the treacherous nobles double cross each other. In a few episodes, Will is reminiscent of George Frasier MacDonald's anti-hero Harry Flashman. When Will commits an act of cowardice, it turns into a tactical masterpiece and saves the day.

At the end of the novel, the group of likable rogues defeat all the bad guys despite their overwhelming numbers.

While the book ends on a positive note, the plot leaves a number of threads unresolved. The mystery behind the mysterious band of soldiers is never satisfactory explained. We don't find out who hired them, where they come from or how they got their mysterious magical powers. Nor does the reader get an explanation on why these soldiers, who appear almost invinceable throughout the book, suddenly turn into ordinary, vulnerable troops at the big finale.

Despite these drawbacks, the book is entertaining and Will is pleasant enough lead character.

Act of Will, by A. J. Hartley on Amazon

Act of Will, by A. J. Hartley on Amazon

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