Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Comparisons of Wizard for Hire to Harry Potter would be very appropriate. Especially the first two Harry Potter books that are a little lighter next to the ones later in the series. Obert Skye takes us on a journey to follow a child who is left alone after his parents are taken away. There are some perhaps stretched imagination things that happen at first for our young boy to survive but I quickly got over any of those as I got caught up in the story.
The absolute best part of Wizard for Hire is the various characters. They are quirky, odd and have very unique personalities. It's difficult to create character who jump off the page from the first moment you meet them; but Skye manages to do just that. Now maybe it's because there are nods to Frodo meeting Aragon (as the Ranger) that happen in the scene that introduces our young boy to a kindly old wizard; but irregardless of a little inspiration for setting I felt like it was just perfect. I love our young gal who gets involved as the story progresses as well! But let's face it the story is all about our young boy and his quirky friend the wizard in the end. Kind of like Harry Potter can be dumbed down to being about Harry and Dumbledore at it's core.
There are sooo many clever 'magical' things that happen! I don't want to share any of them as they are just too special to spoil. But let's put it this way; things may seem magical from one perspective, and yet from another just be a very clever adult tricking a child. And yet... we do have a talking bird right off the bat which means some magic has to be real right?
There's a fair bit of plot in this first novel of the series. Not unlike in Harry Potter Skye has to set-up the reasons for the parents being gone, the way the boy is surviving, and subsequently bring in a factor that forces our young lad to venture into the world. However at no time did I ever think this was too much or overwhelming. It felt well paced and there was never any info dumping which I greatly appreciated!
If you think I've mentioned Harry Potter too many times you may be right. But trust me I haven't said it near as many times as it's referenced in Wizard for Hire. Our young boy has a copy of the books and so there are many, many times where the 'magic' of his world is compared to a concept in Harry Potter. The wizard even goes so far as to say that Rowling got "some things right." but other things "very wrong". Implying that perhaps Rowling built her world of magic off a 'real' magical world.
I think this is very cute; but I did find it tiresome after awhile. That said I was an adult when Harry Potter came out; so I could see someone loving all the references and nods who experience Potter as a child.
This is a very fun and clever book. It's written for 9-11 children but I think it's worthy of anyone in any age group reading. It could easily be a book where a parent reads it to a child one chapter at a time (just like Harry Potter). I am really looking forward to the next installment and hope that we can learn a little more about 'magic' in this world and what may or may not be real.
There's a lot to still discover in this world. Skye has done a brilliant job of keeping the reader eager for the next book!
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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