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on June 24, 2013 :
I received this book through GoodReads First Reads.
It took me a little while to get into this, but I'm glad I stuck with it. My trouble in the beginning, I suspect, was due to the generic conventions of Jon as Teenage Boy Hero Who Discovers His Magical Legacy And Meets A Pretty Girl. But there's a lot more to Jon than that, and -- more importantly -- Jon's specialness is not presented at the expense of that pretty girl.
Things definitely pick up once Jon starts transporting to Yden, and pick up even more once certain denizens of Yden start transporting to Earth (or should I say Yrth...), especially during Kira's visit to Jon's high school. This makes for some hilarious fish-out-of-water dialogue.
Some of the other characters tend toward cardboard and I wish that they'd been developed more (Casey "the nerd", Fred "the muscle", and various villains like Tyrg), but even so they're all fun.
The setting felt a little carboard, too, with Yden itself presented through generic shorthand for Medieval-esque Magical Land. I would have preferred richer world-building, but I also don't think this type of fantasy novel has to be uber-original to be good.
The plot was also fun, though it felt very rushed at times. To be fair, the final sequences had a better pace and felt well-earned. It's hard to explain without spoilers, but the very last paragraph was tacked-on and anticlimactic. I'm willing to overlook this if the events alluded to therein are more fully fleshed out in Book 2.
Overall this is a solid fantasy novel. I wish I could give it 3.5 stars. I'd give it 4 for Jon, Brett, and Kira all being awesome (Brett and Kira and Strong Characters, Female) but I'm rounding down to 3 instead, for the otherwise thin characters, generic shorthand, and often rushed pacing.
For what it's worth, the copy of this book that I won through GoodReads was a paperback, and I also decided to buy an e-copy on Smashwords so I could support the author that much more.
And yes, I do plan to read the sequel...
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on March 08, 2013 :
His 16th birthday had been the most horrible day of Jon Hansen's life, but things were about to get worse.
The ring - His father vanished when he went to retrieve the ring for Jon's birthday. When Jon puts the ring on, he notices that it is more than a simple ring!
The cuff - He found in his father's things after his father vanished.
The ring/cuff combo - transports Jon into an unfamiliar world. Jon and his younger sister, Sela, didn't know that all the fantasy stories their father told them about Yden were in fact true.
First trip to Yden... Jon is mistaken for a vagrant, chased by the cygards, and barely escapes. How he can he rescue his father when he can barely rescue himself?
Now that his father is gone, money is tight. So Jon transfers from Pacific Prep to the public school... Pacific High. While shopping for clothes for school he meets a pretty girl, Brett and finds out she goes to his new school. He also makes a new friend at his new school, Casey Scott. Things would be looking up if his arch-enemy, Fred, hadn't also transferred to public school.
Second trip to Yden... Jon finds himself in the dungeon with a woman warrior, Kira Szul, and is able to free them both using his magical powers.
While serving Detention together, Fred and Jon save an old man and a young woman from a burning car. Jon immediately recognizes Kira Szul and Dorsit from Yden. And his life has just become more complicated...
When Jon returns to Yden the third time he has an entire posse with him... Brett has been kidnapped by Efysian, the evil wizard who is holding Jon's dad captive, and taken to Yden. Jon returns with Casey, Kira, and Fred to rescue her. Dragons, evil wizards, a girlfriend AND a father that need saving...
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 22, 2012 :
"The Last Great Wizard of Yden" is an adventure that is equally fun for Young Adults and Adults! Jon Hansen's adventures on Yrth and in Yden are exciting, suspenseful and full of action. His relationships with his friends, family and the Wizard community of Yden are whole-heartedly entertaining. A wonderful, fast-paced novel involving magical powers, fantasy worlds and even a bit of romance! Highly recommended for readers of any age who enjoy magical moments!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 03, 2012 :
A thoroughly enchanting and enjoyable story for both YA and Adults alike! I love how the author makes the world of Yden come to life with her detailed descriptions of all its many creatures and peoples. If you are a fan of wizards and sorcery then this is the book for you! I highly recommend The Last Geat Wizard of Yden.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)