This was a fun, straight forward tale that was easy to get into. I enjoyed the magic and the simple world building. The characters were a little one-dimensional but also suited the story. Nate is a likable kid on the cusp of manhood who seeks one adventure and gets swept up in something much bigger.
A variety of characters populate this story – it’s not just humans playing major roles. I especially liked Demon, a 2-headed chimera, and the relationship he builds with Blinkly and Nate. I was a little sad to see that the ladies were side-barred for much of the story. There’s Nate’s mom and a disgruntled older lady that have minor roles and we have to get deep into the tale before a woman makes her mark on the plot.
On the surface, it’s a typical good versus evil story. The Red Wizard helps Nate achieve his goal of apprenticing in magic (which is a boost his ego definitely needed as his family thinks of him as a silly daydreamer). I did enjoy the image of Nate’s brother Ted trying to ride a wild pegasus even as Ted has little regard for Nate’s dreams.
OK, so back to the Big Baddie and how the realm is in danger and eventually even Nate’s village is under threat. Even though this is a kid’s tale, I was glad to see that not everyone makes it out unscathed. Nate has the dead to morn, injuries to heal from, and yet more magic to learn. All told, 4/5 stars.
The Narration: R. J. Walker’s narration started off a little bumpy. His character accents skewed and mushed together in the beginning. When Nate was hanging out with Blinkly, he had an almost posh accent (which is what Blinkly has) but when hanging out with his brother Ted, it was much more Midwestern (though Ted sounds like a total hick, which is odd for 2 siblings to have different accents). Anyhoo, about halfway into the book, the accents stabilize and each character remains distinct. Sometimes Walker had a great voice for a female character (like ancient Bela) and sometimes his female voices lacked femininity. Still, he was an energetic narrator who obviously enjoyed what he was doing. There were no technical issues with the recording. 4/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by JS Jaeger. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.