The Unsuspecting Mage: The Morcyth Saga Book One

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“Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…”
Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world. More
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Price: Free!

About Brian S. Pratt

Born in Modesto, California, Brian graduated high school in 1985 and went into the Air Force where he trained as an Avionic Specialist on the F-117A Stealth Fighter.
When his tour of duty ended, he tried his hand as a Pizza Hut delivery driver where he quickly rose to become General Manager of a delivery unit in Edmonds, WA and continued as such for several years.
Then after a short stint driving a taxi, he spent two years teaching teenagers how to drive. (Not as stressful as one would imagine.) He now writes full time in Washington, USA.
His published works include:
The Morcyth Saga (7 Books)
Travail of The Dark Mage (2 Books)
The Broken Key Trilogy (3 Books)
Dungeon Crawler Adventures (2 Books)
The Adventurer's Guild (Series)
Ring of the Or'tux (Stand Alone)

Also in The Morcyth Saga

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: BattleCat on March 10, 2014 : star star star
I thought the first book was interesting enough: however, I have zero intention of spending upwards of $60.00 to read the rest of it. It simply wasn't that good. The rest of the series are priced too high for self-published, half-edited pulp fiction. Get over yourself.
(review of free book)

Review by: Paula T on Feb. 06, 2014 : star star star
I enjoy it.
(review of free book)

Review by: M. Pars on Aug. 28, 2013 : star star
I have to agree with my fellow reviewers - the book lacks tension and the present tense is very difficult to follow. I think that the use of the present tense takes away any depth, rendering the story flat. I certainly would not pay money to read the remaining volumes.
(review of free book)

Review by: Vincent Bernhardt on May 24, 2013 : star star star star
I'm a big science fiction and fantasy fan, and have been for over fifty years (yes, the sci-fi genre is that old). This book is not a bad book, but not outstanding in the fantasy genre. I did like the premise, though, as one reviewer said, there is a lack of tension in the book itself. The present tense style of writing didn't put me off from reading it, but didn't detract from the book, either. That's actually a positive note, since I think present tense is tough to pull off well.
Overall, it's an okay book, and it's free, so you should at least give it a try. It might make you interested enough to get the next book, which is the author's thinking, I'm sure.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jeremy Drewett, Jr on April 07, 2013 : star star
Was hard to get into story with present tense writing.
(review of free book)

Review by: Matthew D. Ryan on March 31, 2013 : star star star
“The Unsuspecting Mage” is book one of the seven book series, The Morcyth Saga, by Brian S. Pratt. It tells the story of James, a high school student from our very own Earth who, when he answers an unusual ad in the paper, finds himself thrust into a strange and dangerous unknown world with little to help him except a short book on magic (which he quickly loses—of course).

The story is pretty straightforward. James needs to return home, but he has no idea how to get there. He’s given some clues on what he’s wanted for in this world by a strange little impish creature that keeps showing up to “help” him. Other than that, he’s on his own. Eventually, he finds himself on a quest for information regarding the good god Morcyth whose religion was wiped out several centuries ago. This leads him from city to city across the land with a young boy named Miko to accompany him. He makes a few enemies (and a few friends) along the way. The book reaches its climax in a besieged city called the City of the Light. I won’t spoil the ending.

Overall, I found this book to be … unexceptional. That is what describes it best. It wasn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination; I was able to read it without too much difficulty over the course of a week or so. However, the writing wasn’t good enough to persuade me to get the next book in the series.

Strengths: there are a couple: most notably the positive moral character of the main character James. He comes across as a decent enough guy who makes morally decent decisions. That can be a plus or a minus depending upon the reader. Sometimes, he seemed almost too much of a goodie-two-shoes (or is it goodie-too-shoes?), in an unrealistic way—he always had sage advice and a willingness to go out of his way to help people to whom he owed nothing.

Weaknesses: there were a few. Most notable, the work (at least the version I got) was riddled with typos. And some of them were quite serious—entire missing words and whatnot. It got kind of annoying after a while. Also, and this may even be more significant, there was very little tension. Most of the people he encounters in his travels are normal everyday-types who aren’t out to hurt anybody, or deceive anybody; there are one or two exceptions, but they are mostly on the periphery. It doesn’t make for an exciting story. There was a lot of useless dialogue consisting of “Hi. How are you?” “Oh, I’m fine. And you?” and similar type stuff.

On a side note, the book is written in present tense. That can work, sometimes, if it’s done correctly. In this case, I think it averages out to be a neutral, adding nothing special to the work, nor taking too much away.

Overall, I’ll give this work two and half, or maybe three stars, out of five, if I’m feeling generous.
(review of free book)

Review by: Matthew D. Ryan on March 31, 2013 : star star star
“The Unsuspecting Mage” is book one of the seven book series, The Morcyth Saga, by Brian S. Pratt. It tells the story of James, a high school student from our very own Earth who, when he answers an unusual ad in the paper, finds himself thrust into a strange and dangerous unknown world with little to help him except a short book on magic (which he quickly loses—of course).

The story is pretty straightforward. James needs to return home, but he has no idea how to get there. He’s given some clues on what he’s wanted for in this world by a strange little impish creature that keeps showing up to “help” him. Other than that, he’s on his own. Eventually, he finds himself on a quest for information regarding the good god Morcyth whose religion was wiped out several centuries ago. This leads him from city to city across the land with a young boy named Miko to accompany him. He makes a few enemies (and a few friends) along the way. The book reaches its climax in a besieged city called the City of the Light. I won’t spoil the ending.

Overall, I found this book to be … unexceptional. That is what describes it best. It wasn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination; I was able to read it without too much difficulty over the course of a week or so. However, the writing wasn’t good enough to persuade me to get the next book in the series.

Strengths: there are a couple: most notably the positive moral character of the main character James. He comes across as a decent enough guy who makes morally decent decisions. That can be a plus or a minus depending upon the reader. Sometimes, he seemed almost too much of a goodie-two-shoes (or is it goodie-too-shoes?), in an unrealistic way—he always had sage advice and a willingness to go out of his way to help people to whom he owed nothing.

Weaknesses: there were a few. Most notable, the work (at least the version I got) was riddled with typos. And some of them were quite serious—entire missing words and whatnot. It got kind of annoying after a while. Also, and this may even be more significant, there was very little tension. Most of the people he encounters in his travels are normal everyday-types who aren’t out to hurt anybody, or deceive anybody; there are one or two exceptions, but they are mostly on the periphery. It doesn’t make for an exciting story. There was a lot of useless dialogue consisting of “Hi. How are you?” “Oh, I’m fine. And you?” and similar type stuff.

On a side note, the book is written in present tense. That can work, sometimes, if it’s done correctly. In this case, I think it averages out to be a neutral, adding nothing special to the work, nor taking too much away.

Overall, I’ll give this work two and half, or maybe three stars, out of five, if I’m feeling generous.
(review of free book)

Review by: R Ralan on March 10, 2013 : (no rating)
Is there a rating lower than one star?

Unfair, perhaps, since I couldn't get past the first page, present tense setting my teeth on edge. Beyond that, Unsuspecting Mage seems like a school-kid's attempt at fantasy writing after being first introduced to a role-playing game. What kind of name for a hero is "James?" Couldn't he have had a secret nerdish nickname such as Flash or Talvinn or Semba he could use in the alternate world?

As for those who rate this story highly, what do they think of writers such as Robert Heinlein, C S Forester, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury? Probably hate them, I suppose.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jimmy Patterson on March 02, 2013 : star star star star star
the plot was good but the writing suffered a little.
(review of free book)

Review by: CWG Press on Feb. 19, 2013 : star star star
An exciting and fast paced book. I would have given it four stars, if it weren't for the extremely annoying mistakes in grammar and spelling. Most severe was a complete lack of concern about keeping the proper tense and number, even within a sentence. It's sad that a writer with such obvious talent did not choose to get some editing help.

The characters are engaging, the story interesting, the settings nicely depicted. If only the errors had been properly addressed...

I may go on with the next book in the series, because I do want to see what happens next.
(review of free book)

Review by: THG StarDragon Publishing on Jan. 24, 2013 : star star star star
I liked this book. It took me a while to read because of fast paced school classes and work to keep up on, but if you have uninterrupted time this book will be read very quickly. When I can I will be purchasing the next book.

To address the issue of the huge bounty by one reviewer, I interpreted it as being set up by whoever called him onto the quest to ensure that he started out with enough funds. Quests are expensive, any RPGer knows this. A good Dungeon Master will provide opportunities for funds.

For the person raising the issue of riding bikes to school not being believable... My daughter often rides her bike to school, though sometimes she walks. Most kids in my town either walk or bike because we have no buses. From what I have seen of city schoolyards, plenty of kids there ride bikes to school as well.

Now, that aside, I do have a small issue that kept me from fully immersing myself. The entire book was present tense, including passages that normally reflect back to slightly past tense. That had be bothered for a while until I realized it was rather like the reader is looking into a crystal ball at the dungeon master's lair or using some other method of farviewing. When I realized that, it gave the story even more of an RPG feel.
(review of free book)

Review by: janice ripplinger on Nov. 18, 2012 : star star star star star
I loved everything about this series(unsuspecting mage), Brian Pratt has a way of involving you in the lives of his characters, of making you care about them as if they were friends. I am looking forward to reading more of his series as this is the first one i have read. After reading the reviews below i can only say that artistic license can go a long way to cover most of the things they found annoying, keep it up Brian, you have a great future as a fantasy writer.
(review of free book)

Review by: Nicholas Martin on Nov. 12, 2012 : star star star star star
I loved all of the books in this series, I started the second series but wheres the second book we have been waiting for over a year for it please finish it. I have purchased everything Mr. Pratt has released and will continue to do so and i highly recommend his work to anyone that enjoys fantasy novels and RPG's.
(review of free book)

Review by: Kat Jen on Nov. 03, 2012 : star star star star star
Can not believe the review below. One must live a sheltered life to Think riding a bike to School isnt perfectly normal in many many places. I loved the story btw. Even more so because it was free heh.
(review of free book)

Review by: A.L. Wyatt on July 31, 2012 : star
I'm going to be completely honest here. I would like someone to do the same for my story as well so I don't feel bad. There is no hook in my opinion. Also James is 17 why is he riding a bike to school. I am sorry, but you should do more research. I do realize that his school is a short distance but still. Here is something else it says his PE teacher tells him he should participate. Normally seniors get to choose their classes and the freshmen must take PE one year. Most high schools follow the one year freshmen PE doctrine. To me the characters lacked a lot of description. We are all entitled to our own opinions and mine is this is a no go. I do want to give you props for pulling off 140k words using present tense that is rare. I am sure you are a good writer, but to be honest. I do not like this story. Sorry. :(
(review of free book)

Review by: Ragnar Lodbrok on June 07, 2012 : star star star
Really good story. Competent writing. Strange choices like everything being in the present tense. On balance I enjoyed the book but found myself constantly very slightly annoyed. Like eating ice-cream with a fly buzzing around your face. :-) I decided not to purchase the follow-up work.
(review of free book)

Review by: T. Alden Clamor on May 09, 2012 : star star star star star
Riveting! Inspiring! Once you've reached page 17, there's no turning back. Brian Pratt is a Master Storyteller. This book could enrich your life so much, you won't be the same person anymore!
(review of free book)

Review by: ericson llorca on April 17, 2012 : star star star star star
very good read!! i'll buy the next books...won't stop reading till i finish james and his friend's adventure in finding the truth on his quest.
(review of free book)

Review by: RichNKatiesMom on April 14, 2012 : star star star star
This was a great book and had an interesting story line BUT the first person view and present tense verbs were driving me crazy midway through. I would love to read the rest of the series because the story line, characters, and plot are very enjoyable but since the book does not flow easily for me with the present tense used I may have to read them in short doses.
(review of free book)

Review by: Luke M on Feb. 27, 2012 : star star star
I give three stars for the fun, escapist plot, but really, stay away if you're bothered by clearly amateur writing. The other reviews mentioned the rather uneven prose, but I wanted to point out something that jarred me from my suspension of disbelief. This is a minor spoiler because it happens so early in the book:

James helps a guy defeat six bandits, and accepts a bounty of 1100 gold. Said guy insists James takes the whole amount instead of splitting it. Well okay, that's our first introduction to money in this fantasy world, so we don't have any frame of reference. Then when James reaches his first inn, we find out that it costs one silver. We find out later (though it's never stated directly) that there are 20 coppers to a silver, 20 silver to a gold. The most expensive inn in the first book is one gold per night.

Think about that: collecting that one bounty from a farming village would let him live at the most expensive inn for three years! Compare that to hotels in our world: in the US, cheap hotels are maybe $50, while the most expensive certainly get up to $1000 per night (twenty times the price, just like the book). Food is usually a couple coppers for a cheap meal (~$5), so this seems like a reasonable estimate for currency conversion. That means this small farming town apparently has the real world equivalent of $1.1 million to pay out for a bounty. And not only that, the guy who did most of the fighting freely gives up the equivalent of over half a million dollars to a kid he just met (and saved) the day before! Even if you adjust my assumptions down, it's still an outrageous amount of money for a small farming village to hand out or even have available.

So anyway, in short, it's an interesting diversion, but the writing could use some work and the economics in the story just aren't very well thought out. Worth the price of the free download, but I can't say I'll continue with the sequels.
(review of free book)

Review by: Stiven Nielsen on Feb. 07, 2012 : star star star star star
James, a regular young man, gets transported into a parallel world where magic exist. There he will need to learn magic to survive the many different hardships he gets thrown into.

James seems to be able to think of all the right things at the right times. It's refreshing to read a book where the main character is competent instead of like in many tv series where they rely on making the characters incompentent for the sake of creating cliffhangers.

The first person perspective adds to the immersion for me. Everything the main character does is mentioned. You follow him from his point of view as he reacts to- and devices plans for the situations, and you feel good when his plans succeed.

I like how James can use the experience from his D&D games in the situations he gets into in the parallel world as something that appears to be supernatural insight when seen from the perspective of his companions who were born in that world.

I like how the knowledge of physics (for example electricity), which is common in the ordinary-, but unknown in the parallel world gives James the understanding to be able to use nature to enhance his spells to great effect.
That gives him the potential to be a more powerful mage than all other mages in the world. The main character transforms from a regular young man with a normal life, into the kind of mysterious Merlin type mage from old tales.

I think this series is a must read, and well worth the time and money.
(review of free book)

Review by: Michael Rogers on Jan. 16, 2012 : star star star star star
I'll be one of the first people standing in the lines, waiting to watch this as a movie! :)
(review of free book)

Review by: Susan Scott on Nov. 16, 2011 : star star star star star
This book will hook you. There are six more that you will want to read. I couldn't wait to follow James on all of his exploits.
(review of free book)

Review by: Douglas Smith on Oct. 09, 2011 : star star star star
I found the book as a free download on nook and truly enjoyed reading it, and am looking forward to reading the remainder of the series. That said I would like to point out that I felt that the character could have been developed a bit further,and I hope that this character development happens later in the series
(review of free book)

Review by: Michael Washam on Sep. 11, 2011 : star star star star star
I enjoyed the entire series. I am looking forward to the next series with James just have to wait till its all done before buying. (Hate waiting for next part)
(review of free book)

Review by: R McCullough on Sep. 02, 2011 : star star star star star
Sorry - hit submit instead of the stars...........
This would be worthy of 6!

O my…………
Excellent read!!!!!!!!!!!
Have just purchased through book 7 – thought I had seen reference to a #8?
Written where it is almost a screen play and should be simple to make into a budget movie.
Brian – let me know should you ever need BW photos for your stories.
I will do them free – just credit me for ones used.
Would love to be a part – I played AD&D years ago and had a ball!
And I was in my early 40’s!
Mac
(review of free book)

Review by: R McCullough on Sep. 02, 2011 : (no rating)
O my…………
Excellent read!!!!!!!!!!!
Have just purchased through book 7 – thought I had seen reference to a #8?
Written where it is almost a screen play and should be simple to make into a budget movie.
Brian – let me know should you ever need BW photos for your stories.
I will do them free – just credit me for ones used.
Would love to be a part – I played AD&D years ago and had a ball!
And I was in my early 40’s! Am now 67.........
Mac
(review of free book)

Review by: Kim Pursley on Aug. 27, 2011 : star star star star star
Wonderful epic saga!! I found this book as a free read so I downloaded it and I absolutely LOVED IT!! I am currently reading the 5th book The Star of Morcyth. High marks for this series!!
(review of free book)

Review by: cheryl McKinley on Aug. 21, 2011 : star star star star star
I'm 53 yrs old and have read literally thousands of books. I'm an avid reader. I purchased these through another online resource then came looking for more books By Brian S. Pratt. Mr Pratt pulls you into his books and makes you understand and care for his characters. With the start of the first book I thought I'd purchased something a bit too young for me, but as the story progressed the writer and the characters grew until I was completely hooked. I quickly purchased the whole series. As with the Harry Potter series I didn't want the story to end. I've read the first book in the next series, and now eagerly await the second book which is almost completed! Keep them coming Brian!
(review of free book)

Review by: pdarnold on Aug. 11, 2011 : star star star star star
This book (along with all the others in this series which I purchased elsewhere) has been one thrill of a journey! Even my mother, who is in her sixties, devoured this and all the other books. She keeps asking if there has been any new books added to the series. If you're a teen or have that youngster yet living inside the old bones and love adventure, magic, and the faith of friendships this book and all the others in this series are a must read!
(review of free book)

Review by: Brian S. Pratt/DiddaEinars on July 04, 2011 : star star star star star
Sorry Brian that I did not write a rewiew before. Of course this book is brilliant. I felt it from the start but never put it down in writing.

I feel, but have problems in expressing my feelings in writing, especially if it is not in my own language.

I translated this book into Icelandic because of that. I wanted to share with other people in my country the message that there is hope for a better world if we just belive in it.

It just takes one person to begin with and then it spreads, maybe it takes some time but eventualy it does.
(review of free book)
(review of free book)

Review by: William Massey on June 14, 2011 : star star star star
The book is very enjoyable. Interesting plot although a lot of the things that happen seem to have little to do with James's quest to discover why he was brought to this world and the purpose of the amulet that he is given. I assume that their purpose will pop up in later books of the series. While the writing style of the book flows well, I found it a little distracting that the author has the main character do something then has him tell one of the other characters what he just did. I thought he did a great job of relating how a novice discovers that he can perform magic and gradually learns to control it more and more. I'm already starting Book 2 of the series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Rikki K on June 02, 2011 : star star star
Three stars for interesting characters, plots, and world. Two stars empty because as a voracious reader, present tense is horribly tedious. I find that I simply cannot devour the book in one sitting, I have to put it away when the tense makes me so irritable I prefer doing laundry. I'm not sure if I can bring myself to stick with the series, even though I'm intrigued enough to wonder what happens to the characters.

About 120 or so pages in it clicked in my head what writing in present tense made me think of constantly. It reminds me of the old online roleplay MUDs, only instead of getting to 'choose your own adventure' you are simply reading someone's completed game. I really would like to give the series more consideration but I'm not sure I can grit my teeth that often.
(review of free book)

Review by: Mark Stewart on June 01, 2011 : star star star star star
The novel was written extremely well and flowed naturally.
(review of free book)

Review by: Shon Sechrist on May 02, 2011 : star star star star star
I started reading The Morcyth Saga and can not get enough of reading James' trek into a new world filled with uncertainties and great adventures. Brian Pratt has a way of writing that leaves you wanting more, therefore I am starting on book 3.
his books have a nice flow and keep you moving right along.
I have been reading a few of his reviews from other readers. I like that Brian makes you feel like your rift there I'm these lands that he travels to.
For the ones that sea so intent on critiquing his stile and use of punctuations, how many books have you tried to write? I for one am a reader, not a writer...of the books hold my attention then I keep reading. And these books are definitely addictive.

Good job Mr. Pratt and keeps the books coming. Your have a raw and addictive writing talent that you should be very proud of.
(review of free book)

Review by: Joseph L. Garrido on April 02, 2011 : star star star star
I couldn't read more than four chapters. Seems like the story is in par with any good fantasy, but the viewpoint writing took the fun out of it for me. It's not the way I am used to reading with this type of book. I still highly recommend downloading and reading it. Brain obviously put a lot of time and effort to create the series. If you have no issues in the way he wrote the book, then get the whole series.

I give him four stars for story creation. written in the third person would have won him all five.
(review of free book)

Review by: Lisa Vandiver on March 30, 2011 : star star star star star
I found this book to be both interesting and entertaining. I love this kind of mystic story and fell right into it, and enjoyed it very much. Mr. Pratt has a great talent at story telling and any minor errors are easily overlooked. I found myself being drawn into the story and anxiously awaiting to see what next terror or triumph was going to unfold for the main character James. I am looking forward to continuing in the series. I will continue to be a reader of Brian Pratt's adventures.
(review of free book)

Review by: PM Geuze on March 05, 2011 : star star star star
As posted on my Facebook page:

I just finished this first of eight books by Brian S Pratt that was for offer at the Smashwords website. So far the selections at Smashwords have been a whole lot of miss but this is a hit. Provided for free under the guise that all following books are charged for, the story is simple in the simple RPG format. The writing is simple and easy to read. While the writing is easy enough to read, you get the sense that somebody better at writing English is tutting at the prose, but it is a light enough touch that you can still enjoy the story.

Given an interest in middle fantasy, and an social repressed teen magically transported to a magical land, the story picks on the path of finding his way through a strange land. Characters come and go, each adding a small part to the hint that there will be an overreaching story yet to be seen.

I saw that the author has managed at least eight books, so what has been hinted to, clearly will be delivered over time. So if this sounds interesting, come look at the free edition at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1444.
(review of free book)

Review by: John McHaffie on March 05, 2011 : star star star star
This is a very good series. I have read all 7 of this series, the first book of the sequel Travail series, and am anxiously awaiting the publication of the next book.

I agree that there are some slow spots, but overall this is a very engaging and visual series. It really creates imagery as you read it, and the action just gets more and more intense as the book goes on. In the other books it gets *really* intense as well.

I cannot imagine trying to review a book after only reading a few pages, so I am unsure how some of the one or no-star reviewers are coming up with their opinions of this book.

I think it is obvious by many of the comments (such as improper use of amber alert) that many people have not even read the book carefully at all. Do not care for this type of genre, or for some reason just want to post something negative.

If you like fantasy books (like Weis / Hickman type stuff, etc.) then you will LOVE this in my personal opinion.

Hey it's free. Give it a read and definitely read it for more than a few pages lol. You will find that you will be purchasing the next one... then the next one... just like I did.

If you must defer to proper grammar and sentence structure to create a comfortable reading environment for yourself, then this is not for you.

I give this book 4 stars only because there are others in this series that I think are better written as far as keeping the reader engaged in the story. Keep in mind that this is a *series* so after reading it just imagine how good the others get!
(review of free book)

Review by: Chelsea Maloney on Feb. 26, 2011 : (no rating)
I admit, I only ended up here because the ad for this eBook was so hilariously awful, I figured it had to be a joke. (Considering the "Morcyth Saga" looked like a cheap misspelling of the classic "Forsyte Saga," a series of books from which a number of TV mini-series have been made over the last hundred years.)
It promised a "full length" fantasy eBook from a series with seven books "completed." (Do the quotation marks insinuate that the rest of the books are actually not done, or that they somehow skirt the definition of 'completed'...?)
I could have just gone about my day, enjoying the schadenfreude from how patently terrible the opening pages were, until I saw the number of four- and five-star reviews.
I don't know which of the author's friends or relatives wrote these, or who encouraged him to spend his life writing another six books, but the first eight-or-so pages were, frankly, embarrassing. ("James removes a six inch homemade hoagie from his sack and smiles." Did he measure it? Would we otherwise have assumed it was store-bought, having had his grandmother's "2nd-place" cooking skills already crammed down our gullets? Would it have taken that long to spell out the word 'second'?) Maybe it somehow evolved into Shakespeare after that, but I'll never find out.
Unnecessary descriptors, awkward verbs,("The officer hands each of them a card bearing pertinent contact information," the second awkward use of 'bearing' in the first eight pages) lack of research, (look up 'amber alert' on Wikipedia before you issue one for one of your characters) poor choice of tenses, expository infodumps to spoon-feed us character information...
I can't imagine why this was never published.
(review of free book)

Review by: Benjamin Haynes on Jan. 04, 2011 : star star star star star
I rather enjoyed this book, and found that I even more drawn to the book because it was written in present-tense. Such writing styles in my opinion make me feel more like I am there either as or with the character in the story. The book was well written and I enjoyed following James as he discovered magic and how to use it. I also enjoy how there was a limit to the magic he could use, unlike most fantasy book with magic in them a person in this book was only limited to what his or her body allowed, so it seemed more reasonable and made the story more interesting as he struggled with his limits. Bought the whole series and plan to read it again and again
(review of free book)

Review by: Shoobydoo on Jan. 01, 2011 : star
I only managed to get through 8 pages of this before asking myself why I was bothering and hitting the back button. The present-tense writing is incredibly distracting, but I am a poor judge of that because I absolutely despise present-tense writing in general. What dialogue I read was stilted and very unnatural. The main character starts out as trying to be an interesting subversion, by making James interested in geeky and nerdy things, but in practice it just seems like a poorly written author stand-in.

When the author actually wrote "It's not like he was fat or anything" was really the last straw. That is not the kind of sentence you put in a professionally written manuscript. (And yes, that is what the independently published should strive to be; professional.) That is the kind of thing you say in a conversation with your buddy when trying to defend your sedentary lifestyle. In fact, it would have been fine if this sentence was used as a piece of dialogue between two characters DISCUSSING the main's sedentary lifestyle. However, it was a piece of background information about the character. Instead of revealing James' traits through his actions and interactions, we are instead treated to lovely infodumps like "It's not like he was fat or anything. He just wasn't in to that sort of thing." If that's the best this book has to offer, you can count me out.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jason on Dec. 28, 2010 : star
I'm surprised at the high rating other reviewers have given this book. My guess is that the other reviewers are on the young side or the author is bumping his own work.

The book is written in the present tense which is actually really distracting. It may be that the author decided to do this so that readers might associate it with the way the GM of a role playing game narrates but it doesn't make it less disconcerting.

The book's dialogue and plot are very simplistic, suitable for young readers but probably not for most adults. I found the whole book to be a demanding slog. Not recommended for advanced readers. Only barely recommended for anyone else.
(review of free book)

Review by: frostschutz on Oct. 26, 2010 : star star star star
The style takes some getting used to at first, since it's all in the present tense instead of the usual past tense for fantasy novels; so he goes, sees, says, asks, hollers, rides, camps, fights, etc.

The story is mysterious and many questions aren't answered, so the main character doesn't know why he is taken to the fantasy world, or what exactly it is he's supposed to do there. So he travels in search of answers, but instead finds himself in trouble at pretty much every corner.

Although the book is free, the ending is a total cliffhanger so if you enjoyed it at all, you're basically forced to buy the next book as well. I ended up buying the entire series after finishing the second book.

The only thing I can criticize about this story is that it gets a bit too repetitive sometimes; ride, fight, camp, ride, fight, ...
(review of free book)

Review by: Thomas Harning, Jr on Sep. 22, 2010 : star star star star star
Great read and a great introduction to a new book series. May not have started reading if it were not free... reading drove me to get the next one! The attention to detail on the mechanics of how things work in the environment are not "inconsequential" but an enhancement to the experience. Look forward to reading more of Pratt's work.
(review of free book)

Review by: Donal Fitterer on Jan. 14, 2010 : star star star
I liked the book. The beginning caught my attention and I was able to ignore some of the issues I have with the author's writing style. The middle dragged on but the last part of the book was exciting and I fell into the story. I was bummed when the book ended and I found out I needed book two. If you keep in mind that the author is inexperienced (this is my opinion, not a fact) and you are looking for just a fun story then by all means read the book. I have yet to decide whether I am willing to buy the second book. It does make me want to write my own story!
(review of free book)

Review by: redwriter on Dec. 10, 2009 : star star star star
This is a fun and exciting story following a teenager as he falls into a world of magic. My main problem is not with the cliche plot, but with the authors tendancy to get caught up in inconsequential details. I felt like yelling at my screen "who cares about money, get on with the story". But aside form a few flaws it was an extremly entertaining story.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jonathan Craig on April 07, 2009 : star star star star star
Action, more action, and then add a bit more action, and that’s what you got here. From the getgo, about chapter 2, the action starts and other than a few minor interludes, never stops. James went for a job, but finds himself on another world, one in which magic works. Sounds like a dozen other books written along the same vein, yes?

But no. Pratt gave this one a new angle. You see, James is a role-player and fantasy reader. Once in this new world, he puts his experience d-ming and other stuff to good use. He’s a babe in the woods at first, knows nothing about nothing,

Upon first arriving, he’s told three things.
He can’t go home
Magic works on this world
And to make his way to Trendle, which turns out to be a village.

That’s it. From that point on, his life is in constant turmoil, first with pursuit by wolves, then even worse nasties. Every chapter has something going on, something interesting. The battle scenes were pretty good, though Pratt does like to describe some rather mundane details like eating at an inn and haggling, but I think it added to the ‘flavor’ of the book.

A few items of note that might put some people off. First off, it’s written in present tense. For me it took some getting used to, but after that, it went fine. Secondly, there are a few misspellings, improper syntax, that sort of thing. Thankfully, the story was sufficiently intriguing that after a while I stopped noticing.

If you come at this book as a fun, exciting adventure; a way to wile away the afternoon, you’ll love it. If you are after a dark, deeply convoluted story with a cast of thousands, you’ll not care. The story follows James throughout. Basically, what James knows, the reader knows.

Descriptions are at a minimum. For those burnt out by Jordan’s Wheel of Time, this might be a good alternative.

This really should have a four and a half star, but as I couldn’t give that, I’ll give it a five. He needs an editor to go through it before it gets a whole five. Liked the story, enjoyed it throughout, and am recommending it.

--Jonathan 'Terry' Craig
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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