The Wizard by MJ Kaltenbrunner
Genre – Fantasy
About the Book – It’s About a Dungeon, Sort of
“Can evil acts be carried out for good reasons?
Mertho the wizard is betrayed, transformed into a living dungeon core. He feels the dark magic within him and still holds onto his humanity. But he must steal the souls of those who die in his dungeon to survive.
Tehra the cut-throat elven thief has hit rock bottom when she stumbles upon the bizarre dungeon core. She fears his dark magic until finding it might be used for good, and her own purposes.
Can Mertho learn to wield his new power without becoming evil? Will Tehra decide that murder is just if intentions are righteous? When true horrors threaten to enter the mortal realm, these unwitting anti-heroes might actually be the lesser of evils.
This is a dark fantasy novel inspired by old-school RPGs. Expect violence, heroes with ambiguous morals, and a whole lot of sword-and-sorcery, dungeon building adventure!” – Publisher’s Blurb
The Review – The Wizard Fails to Set Expectations
We often talk about the importance of setting expectations for the reader. Now, you don’t want to telegraph the outcome of your story. However, the reader should know what to expect going into a novel. The Wizard fails to do this. It markets itself as a dungeon core novel, a growing but niche genre, and comes across as something different. It tries to straddle a middle ground between a dungeon core novel, and something more traditional. Mister Kaltenbrunner’s writing is decent, but he just can’t quite manage to bridge what he promises and what he has given, which will leave some readers disappointed. The character development is interesting, if a bit forced. However, the characters moral dilemmas give the reader something to ponder even after they put the book down.
The Wizard isn’t all Bad
There is something to be said for the questions that the wizard poses to the reader. Mister Kaltenbrunner isn’t afraid to ask his reader to think, and we can appreciate that. Also, the dialogue is above average and the exposition on point. Overall, the book is an enjoyable experience, if one goes into its pages with the proper mindset.
The Rating – C+
Could The Wizard be better? Absolutely. The story has two souls, neither of which feels fully addressed. Even with the better than average execution, it never elevates itself higher than it’s premise. The characters are defined, but not exactly relatable, leaving the casual reader with little to connect with themselves. What this creates is something of a literary pet. The book is not quite what it thinks it is, and overreaches. Still, if one can look past all of this, it is an exciting read, one that may stick with the reader even after they put it down.
Do you want to read The Wizard? You can find it here.