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The Magog Gambit: Southern Magic Book 1 by…

The Magog Gambit: Southern Magic Book 1

by Steven F Warnock

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Recently added byDenzilPugh

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It's not often that you store your book in the same locker as the person who wrote it, and I have the pleasure of knowing Steven Warnock, who works with me at Lifeway and has written The Magog Gambit, a work with vampires and werewolves and hosts of undead creatures. However, before getting an image of Taylor Lautner in your head, it is very much more than the silly brooding teenage tomes that have attracted so many readers today. Warnock has taken the idea of Faerie, the parallel world of magic and wonder that co-exists with our world, and placed not only the elves and nymphs in it, but the modern day vampire and zombie as well. Using the real world as a place of fantasy is both easy and difficult, as it gives the reader an obvious place to start out, in this case, Covington, Georgia. The problem, however, arises when you have to explain all works of supernatural causes within the framework created. Eoin Colfer did a great job in Artemis Fowl, and Steven has also managed to balance religion and magic in our own world.

The novel centers around Jordana, a college student going to a small college in Covington, and a professor, Gideon Shaw, who just happens to be much more than he seems. Of course, a supernatual book would be nothing without romance, banter, and a ton of action, all of which this book has. The thing that impressed me most was the pace of the book through dialogue. Almost all description of characters and setting is done through the banter of the characters. It is a skill that Orson Scott Card does tremendously well. His book Speaker for the Dead is a clinic on character development. It is this quality that Steven has done quite well. The people are fleshed out and instantly empathized with, even the bad guys, which can be cardboard cut-outs of evil in some books. The dialogue moves along at a clip which made The Empire Strikes Back so interesting (well, if it weren't for the Degobah interludes), between Han and Leia.

Since Steven might read this, I found two parts of the book to be a little confusing. So I'll criticize a little. The Prologue needs a little work, as I was confused in parts, as if there was a system, rules of "how things work" that I didn't know about, and that if it were a new author that I did not know (and knowing how self-published authors often are) I might be tempted to give up on it. It would be a great shame for that flaw to keep readers from discovering such an entertaining work. The second spot, and this is being picky, is the first fight in the park with Dark Word agents. They're all named. Every stormtrooper didn't have a name, and no one is expected to know Ensign Jimmy's name when he gets eaten by a carnivorous flower on Star Trek. I felt it would have flowed a little better if only the main guy would have a name, and the rest just be, "the thug with the knife."

I've never read a book by someone I've actually known, and so there were some interesting parts of the story where I recognize someone from real life in the book, or where a character says something and I think, "That's something Steven would say," forgetting that he actually *wrote* the book. I was reading a book by a good author, not "Steven's Book" or "a self-published book that only will be read by his friends." Because that's not the case. It deserves to be given a wider audience, and when the publishers of those silly vampire novels get a hold of this one, they'll want to publish it, too. ( )
  DenzilPugh | May 21, 2012 |
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