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.

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

Little Vamp Press reviewed on May 31, 2014

Average across all scores (full review at www.ileandraXraven.co.uk) comes to 3 stars exactly.

This is one of those cases in which the merits of the book lie in it’s potential rather than what it actually achieved. There is so much scope here to do more and though that wasn’t achieved, the book was enjoyable and I don’t regret having read it.

I’m not sure if I’ll be going on the read the others in the series, but at least, for now, I’m happy that I’ve read this one.
(review of free book)
BattleCat reviewed on March 10, 2014

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)
Paula T reviewed on Feb. 6, 2014

I enjoy it.
(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)
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)
Ragnar Lodbrok reviewed on June 7, 2012

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)
Luke M reviewed on Feb. 27, 2012

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)
Rikki K reviewed on June 2, 2011

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)
Donal Fitterer reviewed on Jan. 14, 2010

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)