SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 623 Magic for Hire, by Alex Greene Book Review |

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Magic for Hire, by Alex Greene
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 7/18/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Magic for Hire, by Alex Greene

Book Review by David A. Olson

Have you read this book?

Magic for Hire, a fantasy for young adults written by Alex Greene, is the story of a boy who failed to become a guardsman and wishes to become a magician. Unfortunately, he only knows one spell, and that's used to calm bees. After Dix fails the entrance exam, he joins four other rejects to form a group of freelance wizards. The book follows them as they are hired by various people to help with their problems.

This books greatest strength is its creativity. The creatures and spells are interesting and different. For example, the spell for calming a crowd doesn't work exactly the way one might want: the crowd's intent remains unchanged.

The mystery is kept high until the end, as the question of who was involved in the plot isn't obvious until the answer was revealed.

I found Dix to be sympathetic, and I really wanted him to pass the exam to become a wizard. He had real problems which drew me into his dilemma and made me hope that everything would turn out all right.

Finally, although this book is not put out by a major publisher, it only has a few minor typos and the nice cover artwork sets the mood for the story.

With that written, I must mention that this book does have several weaknesses. Foremost, the characters are bland when compared to those in the "Artemis Fowl" or "Harry Potter" series. Almost every line of dialog spoken by one character could easily have been spoken by another.

The next problem is that the plot is a bit underutilized. For example, they go on a quest to recover three lost spells, but the spells are never used. Also, there are many kinds of magical creatures living outside the borders, but we only see a few. Further, the confrontation between the protagonist and his father, which should have been a high point of the book, was resolved a bit too easily.

Finally, the protagonist has an unfortunate name--Dix--which when pronounced sounds like a swear word. For adults this wouldn't be a serious problem, but the book is aimed at young adults.

All in all, if you have read all the "Harry Potter," "Artemis Fowl," and the other famous young adult fantasy novels and are searching for more then you will probably enjoy this book. However, if you haven't read all of the famous ones already, I strongly recommend reading those instead.
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