Confession time: I’m a sucker for Urban Fantasy. I just love reading adventures set against the background of our modern world, but incorporating magic and wizards. Because I like the idea of being a wizard. Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power of magic at his fingertips?
For me, this obsession started with Harry Dresden, followed by the Iron Druid (and many more). So I’m familiar with these series, and I know the most important key to success for an UF series is this: the main character.
For this series, this means it will rise (and fall) with Nate Temple. And right there is a problem.
Because Nate Temple is arrogant, he has a temper and generally is not a nice person. That makes it really hard for me to like him. Which is not looking promising – see definition of key for success about.
And other characters are just deferring to him like he’s the best thing to ever walk into their life. It’s a tad too much, like he’s being glorified for no apparent reason. An arrogant guy that no one likes, but everyone has to abide because they need him? That would have been plausible. And made more sense. Would have been interesting, even, like some kind of Sherlock Holmes.
Apropos arrogance: Nate boosts to the reader about his great, great magical powers. This is followed up by him getting his bottom handed to him multiple times, despite him being a kind of magical prodigy.
That being said – characters are really the weak point of this book. (With the Minotaur being the exception, having recently found Buddhism. I liked that one very much.) Hollow and too much centered about Nate. Compare that to the struggles Harry Dresden has to live with. Nate on the other hand is like a magical Batman, having inherited 8 billion dollars (and a rather large company). Also his parents were murdered. This bloody screams Batman, right?
But where this series positively stands out its the kind of fast paced action scenes that anyone expects from UF novels. It isn’t Urban Fantasy if the hero is not fighting some monsters.
Those scenes are really well written. They have a natural flow to them, delivering the goods in a satisfactory way. The fighting does not disappoint!
Another boon for this series is the fact that there is enough mythology mixed in with our world (like dragon, werewolves, wizards – and did I mention the Buddhist Minotaur?) to keep it interesting to read.
- Characters are hollow, too dependent on protagonist [-]
- Protagonist is not very likeable [-]
- Setting is interesting enough [+]
- Action scenes are great [+]
All in all, I would say this balances out in the middle. It’s not a great book, but not a bad one either. I’ll keep following this series for now.