It is rare to find a story that encapsulates a feeling of awe and wonder in how it develops its magical guidelines and the lore of the world, yet also embodies the struggles of growing from a child into an adult where the rules the adults have made have saturated the world itself into feeling so wildly complex and indecipherable. Rarer still that the story works on its own well composed merits as much as laying the groundwork for a series beyond it, and all while striking a careful balance between textbook magical fantasy and uniquely implemented steampunk.
A Wizard's Way is a stellar example of a debut novel for an author who knows they have a story to tell and isn't afraid of pushing outside structured convention to do it. Where there should be whole menageries of tropes and cliches as the structural pillars of the story and the development of the characters, H.P Holo isn't afraid to push her characters towards anachronistic thoughts and behaviors that still manage to work by hammering out her lore and background for the world and its populace just so. Rather than embody the hard-line definition of their roles in the story, every character feels like a complete microcosm of ideas and themes unto themselves and make the story flourish by adding in elements that while not precisely necessary to the plot, make the world feel more textured and real.
Better still, H.P Holo knows enough of what she wants to say to her audience and who exactly her audience is to balance a very real feeling sense of floundering urgency to her main protagonist with also throwing him headlong into the throes of confused, eager first love. Showing in all too many ways that life and its various ups and downs don't sit around and let you sort out your smaller, more personal troubles, but instead you need to learn to ride along with them and figure things out all on the schedule life itself hammers out for you.
Overall the story itself hits on strong themes and isn't afraid to toss complex emotions and thoughts into the mix. The characters themselves react to it all with a healthy balance of realism and fittingly idealized traits that solidify their roles in the plot and in their dynamics with eachother. Romance being sparse but meaningful, struggles being epic but not impossible, and stakes feeling vast but not beyond imagination. It is a strong hand to deal on a debut, and I look forward to seeing if the rest of the series will continue with the same energy.
- Paperback: 426 pages
- Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (21 September 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1537539973
- ISBN-13: 978-1537539973
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 717 g
- Customer Reviews: 8 customer ratings