First! The good stuff! This book was a lot of fun to read. The friendly/snarky banter between the characters gave me life and made me laugh out loud more than once.
Santoni has come up with a clever concept: in this world, the first time you use magic sparks a terrifying event. Anyone with magical ability is abducted and taken to an institute under the guise of being trained and protected. But, the reader finds out early on that’s not really what is going on. Basically, Johnny is abducted and incarcerated. The life he was taken from is basically wiped out: his family won’t remember him, and it will be as if he never existed.
The idea of young people being taken from their homes for something beyond their control and incarcerated rang a little bit true in light of what has been going on in the US recently.
There is a diverse group of characters in this novel. Johnny is a young gay Latinx teen with stretched earlobes, a fierce heart and a penchant for hilarious thoughts. I loved this own-voices character. He was authentic and funny, charming and bumbling. It was a joy to read about Johnny falling in love for the first time, and finding his way to courage in a crazy world.
Johnny’s best friend Ali is a trans woman. This character suffers the harsh cruelty of life with strength and dignity. I adored her friendship with Johnny and their devotion to one another.
Santoni has some great building blocks at the beginning of this novel. This is a magical world where magic is scientifically based (not unlike the world created by Victoria Lee in the Fever King). What I wanted to see explored more thoroughly was the unique clockwork structure of magic and how it was almost machinery-like. I felt as though I didn’t really get enough information to understand it as well as I wanted to.
The magical powers were a bit confusing to me. It was a random spell that ignited the latent abilities in Ali and Johnny and then there was really nothing further written in the novel about how the young Wizards learned how to do more magic… they just … did. That was a bit unsatisfying given how much of a great idea the clockwork magical world was.
There were a lot of pop culture references scattered throughout which I think may date the book prematurely. There were some times during the book when it felt a little bit like fanfiction to me. That won’t bother some people, but that always pulls me out of a story no matter how good it is.
All in all, this was a fun read with some really likable characters. It’s got a Gay wizard, monsters, epic battles, and a love story! What more could you want in a summer read? I will look forward to reading more by this author.
Shout out to NetGalley for providing me an eARC in return for an unbiased review.
I rarely DNF a book, but this one is one of the few. I gave it a solid shot, and had originally picked it up because it was one of the few books I’ve seen personally that were originally from WattPad. It’s not a site I often go on but I had heard of it from many people so I figured why not. Unfortunately YA hasn’t and still doesn’t speak to me. The writing style doesn’t inspire a lot in me and this book did very little to change that. I got about 40% through the book before I realized I was just grinding and wasn’t enjoying anything. The blurb is great, the cover is great, they’ll definitely catch readers, I just wonder if it will have an easy time holding said readers.
Originally, I don’t believe this book was branded YA when I first asked for it, now that I am sure it is, it doesn’t live up to the potential it described originally. 2/5 from me.
This was a fun read! I was cheering for the main couple throughout and I loved Allison a little bit too much, haha. It wasn't a five star read, and I had originally intended to read it in June (which didn't happen), but it was fun to read!
This was..... bad. The language in this was hugely harmful and I really had to force myself not to DNF immediately for the purposes of this review. Even then, this took me so long to read because I had to keep putting it down because I was so uncomfortable and disgusted. I can't think of a single redeeming point for this book.
Really a 2.5
This book has a great premise. It's fast paced and kept me intrigued throughout. I love the idea of it. However, the book fell short with a lack a uniqueness and any real magic. The characters, while a great representation for LGBTQ diversity, have very little draw to them. Their conversations, while filled with contemporary dialogue, felt shallow, rather than new or fresh.
Even though they attend a magic school, there really isn't any magic practiced or experienced. With little to no magic or interest, Without the magic, I quickly lost the interest that had brought me to this title in the first place. I was left waiting for a promise that was never fulfilled.
it was difficult to care about the world or characters in them. It had such potential and I was excited for it. But, despite being an interesting and easy read, it left me wanting more from the characters to the plot details.
ARC from Netgalley with thanks
I think this will be an enjoyable read for a particular type of audience, unfortunately I am not it.
I come from the era of Fictionpress and this novel reminded me of far too many of the original slash fiction one might have found on there. The thing is, this had the trappings of everything I love: magical school, dark secrets, cute gays but they never came together in a way that worked for me. There were glimpses of brilliance in some of the passages and the plot itself is good but I found myself skimming more often than not. I suspect part of the problem is that this was very much a serial published as a novel. Serials have a different pace compared to completed novels and it showed. When read from start to end in one go, it dragged. I found myself skipping entire scenes and at one point a chapter because I was losing interest.
Now, the writing itself...well it felt uneven. As I stated previously there were passages that were brilliant, but there were also passages that felt really clunky. In particular the one and only sex scene where the orgasm is signified through a single page with the word "boom." It just felt very twee? And some of the banter had a forced feel, like the joke were put in because they were funny, not because it's something that worked for the conversation or the character.
Another issue I found myself struggling with was the whole Asuras, Devas and Maras thing. I'm buddhist, so those names and concepts are not new to me but they felt more like window trappings than anything substantial. The mythos of the novel's world didn't match with the mythos of the asuras, devas or maras that we find in real life. And I felt this was really a missed opportunity, because I would have loved to read a YA fantasy novel with hindu cosmology. Instead, it really felt more like the thought process was "oh those names sound cool and mystical, let's use them." I honestly would have preferred made up names to a religion being co-opted.
All in all, this needed someone to edit it as a novel and not a published serial and I foresee this being a problem for many wattpad published novels.
I really wanted to love this book because it was LGBTQ+ but I just couldn't. There were too many aspects that I just wasn't a fan of. I didn't really like how sudden Hunter and Johnny's relationship shifts and suddenly Hunter is a completely different person. I really liked their dynamic in the beginning and was hoping that it would stay that way even after they started dating. It turned into more of a love story than anything else and that threw me off. I also wasn't a big fan of the action scenes since they just kind of speed through those scenes and were filled more with Hunter and Johnny being in love over anything else.
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The title of this book really says it all.
I'm a Gay Wizard focuses on Johnny and his best friend Alison. After accidentally causing an earthquake the pair are kidnapped and taken to an institute for wizards where they meet new people and try to escape.
This book was pretty entertaining. The world building could do with a little work but the magic system is pretty interesting and I liked the characters. There are some hard hitting scenes to do with homophobia and transphobia that should be warned about. But...when writing a novel set in a world that's mostly based off our own... It's an unfortunate but realistic addition.
I did really enjoy this book though. It was a bit of a slow start but once it gets going, it's really easy to get through it.
I'd definitely recommend this book.