Reviewed by Steve Dean
With the help of a witch, a midwife helps a woman give birth to a boy. The mother dies during the procedure, causing the father to reject the child. The witch and the midwife take the child and flee the village, fearing the man’s retribution and fearing for the boy, who the witch knows to be a very powerful magic user, (of course). Together, the two raise the child, the witch teaching him all she knows about female magic. Later, an elf appears and takes on the boy’s male magic training after the death of the witch.
The first half of the book, the early years and the training by the elf isn’t too bad. The writing is technically ok, although the author is fond of long sentences. But the characters are bland, two dimensional, and their actions predictable. The witch is reviled but needed by society, and the whole magic thing is borderline sexism. There is no originality here; it has elfs, who live in the forest and make fine jewellery, and dwarfs, who live, you guessed it, under the mountains and make fine weapons. The humans live in between and are breeding like rabbits.
The second half of the book is where it all starts to go badly wrong, when the student rebels against the master (yawn). Then, when the main protagonist goes to the river Styx and meets Charon, (I kid you not), via some pseudo-religious moralising, the plot final turns to the mush we have come to expect from typical vanity published novels.
Taken as a whole, the author shows a tiny spark of promise. If he can find some passion and a lot more originality, step out of his WASP comfort zone and stop preaching, then maybe, one day, he might produce something worth publishing. But this isn’t it, this edition is fit only for the recycling bin.