Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Wizard for Hire

35909705Skye, Obert. Wizard for Hire
March 6th 2018 by Shadow Mountain
E ARC from Netgalley

Seven-year-old Ozzy remembers living in New York with his scientist parents Mia and Emmitt, but the family is now enjoying an idyllic life in the forests of Oregon. Sure, they are surrounded by unpacked boxes, but life is good until strange men come and kidnap his parents. Not knowing what else to do, Ozzy continues to live alone in the mountain cabin. When he discovers Clark, a mechanical talking crow, he is less lonely. He also finds tapes that his father left, detailing some of the psychological experiments that he and Ozzy's mother were doing in New York. When he turns 14, he decides to go to high school, and hops a bus. He just goes to classes, and the teachers accept him for a while. Eventually, he decides to find his parents, and calls the number he finds in the local paper  under "Wizard for Hire". This puts him in contact with Labyrinth (Rin, nee Brian), who claims to have spent time in the wizarding realm of Quarfelt, and says he'll try to help. With the use of his ex-wife's car, Rin finds some details. Before long, Sigi, a girl Rin met at the beach and in the high school, shows up and offers to go track down a contact Ozzy's mother mentions on one of the tapes. Soon Sigi (who has some surprising parentage), Ozzy and Rin are on their way to track down Charles Plankford and figure out the mysteries of Ozzy's past.
Strengths: This is definitely my favorite of Skye's books. The story is far fetched but intriguing, Ozzy is an interesting character, and Rin's backstory is rather fascinating. Ozzy's entry into high school life is funny and endearing.
Weaknesses: This was the sort of book where I would happily read for 50 pages, then the story would bog down a bit and I'd put the book down to clean a bit. Read another 50 pages or so until the story slowed again. In order to make this a middle grade book, about 100 pages would need to be cut. This seems more like a Young Adult title, along the lines of Vizzini's The Other Normals or Pierson's Crap Kingdom.
What I really think: Since this actually isn't a fantasy book, aside from Clark, and I may not purchase it. It's a bit longer and slower than what my students usually like.
Ms. Yingling

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