8th October 2014
I received this book for free as part of the Goodreads First Reads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. It is fair to say, that I really did not enjoy this book. It was a real toil to finish it, despite beginning with a very open mind. I feel bad I have to write this review, however the terms of the giveaway dictate that I must do so.
Before discussing the plot, I must say that the grammar was quite poor, with some bizarre syntax, and some really unforgivable spelling mistakes. This is a published book after all, though finding information on the publisher is not easy. The author’s habit of using capital letters (for when people are shouting), began to annoy me after a while, especially as some of the character shout a LOT!! This could be excusable if the book had a good plot, which it does in a way, but for all the wrong reasons: the plot is not original in the slightest.
A somewhat brief plot synopsis might give some hints: The story focuses on an orphaned boy who lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin who REALLY hate him. The boy has a greater destiny however; he is actually a wizard, fated to be the greatest wizard of all time, and it is foretold that he will be the one to defeat the dark lord, who also happened to murder his parents.
To do so, he must attend a special school for wizards, to learn the dark arts in order to defeat HIM (the dark lord can't be named except in hushed tones, for fear of incurring his wrath). Our titular wizard-in-waiting stops off at a hidden street to buy his school supplies such as his wand, his broom, his books, his uniform etc. Of course he makes friends with a girl and a boy who are fellow trainee wizards, who he of meets on the train journey to the school.
Stop me if you've heard it before. Does it sound familiar? No wonder really; there is a world-famous author who created a character whose own story mirrors this one so closely, that it could make copyright lawyers rub their hands with glee. However this book is in no real danger of either reaching the same audience, or harming the legacy of that series of books, so it is unlikely that its author J.K.R. would even acknowledge its existence.
There is literally nothing original about this book, at all. Reading some other reviews and from the writer's profile on Goodreads it appears the author M.J.L. is a young teenager (15), however this doesn't excuse the severe lack of originality. Indeed, if you didn't immediately recognise this book's plot was purloined (maybe you have been hibernating for the past 20 years), check out some of the author's favourite books/quotes etc., to give some hints as to the source for the plot.
While it is commendable someone so young would want to write at all, they should write their own story, rather than (poorly) rewrite a legendary story. This story is apparently the first in a series, and I can only hope that for future instalments the writer injects some originality into the plot, rather than taking Mikyle Lowe on a quest into a hall of enigmas, or hearing news of the escape of a dangerous captive of Balaban.
Rating: 1/5 stars