Title: Magicians Impossible
Author: Brad Abraham
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
When I started this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the blurb, I thought it had a lot of potential. And by the end of the book, I still thought it had a lot of potential—in other words, I thought it could have used a bit of improvement. There was an incredible foundation upon which to build an excellent novel, but the execution didn’t quite live up to the promise.
Starting with the things I DID like about the book:
The world-building was fantastic: The concept of the Golden Dawn and the Invisible Hand as opposing magical forces, the Citadel as the otherworldly safe haven of the Invisible Hand, filled with doors to every location on Earth, the different methods of accessing magic powers, the different skill sets and abilities demonstrated throughout the book…Every aspect of the world of Magicians Impossible was interesting and imaginative, and I would have loved to see these ideas live up to their potential.
The large cast of diverse characters: The author did a great job showcasing that the magicians come from all over the world. There were a lot of characters with vastly different backgrounds, and they all played pretty interesting roles in the story.
Now, onto what I did NOT like:
1) The Plot: Here lies my big issue with the book. The plot is, for lack of a better description, a bit of a convoluted mess. Quite frankly, I’m shocked this is all one novel, because the sheer amount of information, twists and turns, and action pieces could very easily have been split into two installments, and both would have been of equal caliber.
Instead, what I got was a book with a moderately paced first half that read fairly well, and a second half that was so fast-paced, so overstuffed with twists and turns, that it honestly became hard to follow what was happening.
That large cast of characters I liked so much at the beginning became unwieldy as the story headed toward the climax, with the characters traveling to numerous locations every few pages, splitting up into various groups that were hard to keep track of, a dozen plus fights happening in rapid succession, and at least that many plot twists unraveling at the same time.
When I got to the last 20% of the story, I was mentally exhausted from trying to keep track of what was happening. There was just too much of EVERYTHING jammed into the second half of a book that was not particularly long, and it really wore on my ability to enjoy the story.
If the plot had been trimmed down into a simpler narrative that really let the world-building shine, it would have been a much stronger book, in my opinion.
2) The lack of character development: Following from the plot issue, my enjoyment of those diverse characters was limited to their introductions, and for some, brief backstories.
Because the plot was moving so fast throughout the second half, very few of the characters got the kind of development they deserved, and as a result, it was hard to care when someone got injured, or died, or ended up in a dangerous situation. I didn’t get a chance to come to know many of the characters well, and I was pretty upset by that, because all of them seemed interesting at the surface level.
If the plot had simply slowed down instead of rushing forward to its convoluted conclusion, there would have been more space to develop these characters, and to make their fates in the climactic sequence more impactful. So I really feel that this great cast ended up a wasted opportunity, and that was very disappointing.
So, overall, I think Magicians Impossible is an “okay” read. The fantastic world-building manages to hold up the overwrought plot just enough to make the story enjoyable. But its weaknesses are pretty obvious, and if you go into it with your expectations too high, I think you’ll be disappointed.