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Feature book: Dark Wizard

27 October 2021

Dark Wizard by Jeffe Kennedy

Subgenre: fantasy
Release date: 25 Feb 2021
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 414 pages
RRP: $6.74 (ebook); $31.65 (print)

Well, this book was a surprise. Jeffe Kennedy, where have you been all my reading life?

I wasn’t sure I would like this book when I realised familiars had a pretty much awful time with their ‘masters’ aka wizards. I thought it would be the usual type of horrible wizard ‘hero’ redeemed by his familiar ‘heroine’.

Not so.

We start out with the horrible Bridal Trials, which exercise our heroine a lot and start our hero and heroine on a different path than anyone has trodden before. He’s a wizard who never went to wizard school (The Convocation) after his power showed up in his early twenties instead of like others who started early. So, he’s outside the rules and outside of their control—sort of.

She’s one of the most powerful familiars ever and who was being groomed to be head of her household until it turned out she didn’t have the right brain to be a wizard. With no real choice but to submit to The Convocation’s Bridal Trials (a horrible, horrible Gilead-like event only, I think, worse) Veronica (Nic) Elan hatches a plan to find a wizard she can run rings about and hopefully have die early.

Things don’t go as planned and our wizard, Gabriel—who has chanced most of his wealth on acquiring this most powerful of familiars—turns up and sets things on their ear. Nic is terrified by what transpires between them. And I forgot to mention his powers are moonlight and water and his scores are off the charts. He does some pretty amazing things.

His house had disappeared from the upper echelons of power, and he is the first wizard of their house in a very long time…and hates The Convocation. He questions everything she parrots and calls it out as conditioning, not truth. I can sense a big, fat, breakdown of this nasty group at some point…Book 3?

An escape plan goes wrong, the Fascination happens, and our hero and heroine seem stuck with each other. She’s fascinated, powerless, terrified and resigned. He is ecstatic on one hand and really upset on the other because he sort of cheated and he starts to realise what his actions and selfishness for his house have done to this beautiful and powerful woman to whom he is truly attracted. While Nic knows their ongoing relationship means she will have to give up control to Gabriel, he’s not into that. Not having grown up in the shadow of The Convocation, he has very different ideas on how their life and relationship should run.

It’s an uphill battle for him to get Nic to be his partner and for Nic to teach him some things he ‘has’ to do to grow their power aren’t always gentle but are necessary and exciting to her and help manifest her powers to supplement his. He’s an absolute darling and deep down she knows it. She also knows if she doesn’t help him grow his power—by using her—he will always be at a disadvantage and their house won’t become a High House again.

It’s such a great relationship in Book 1 that I immediately bought Book Two and may review that another time.

In Book 1 Nic holds their reins and has the strongest power of the two, due to Gabriel’s lack of wizard education. Book 2 sounds like there’s a more even relationship. Book 3 is out in December and I can’t wait.

Reviewed by Sharon

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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