Reviews of 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.
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Reviews of The Unsuspecting Mage: The Morcyth Saga Book One by Brian S. Pratt

M. Pars reviewed on Aug. 28, 2013

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)
Vincent Bernhardt reviewed on May 24, 2013

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)
Jeremy Drewett, Jr reviewed on April 7, 2013

Was hard to get into story with present tense writing.
(review of free book)
Matthew D. Ryan reviewed on March 31, 2013

“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)
R Ralan reviewed 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)
Jimmy Patterson reviewed on March 2, 2013

the plot was good but the writing suffered a little.
(review of free book)
CWG Press reviewed on Feb. 19, 2013

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)
THG StarDragon Publishing reviewed on Jan. 24, 2013

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)
janice ripplinger reviewed on Nov. 18, 2012

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)
Nicholas Martin reviewed on Nov. 12, 2012

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)