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April 8, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: Rough Magic, by Kenny Soward

Book Review: “Rough Magic” by Kenny Soward

Having never read a story involving Gnomes, I was curious about Rough Magic. This curiosity was due to my very small understanding of the species. I’ve never played WoW or any video games that featured them, and truthfully, I had a hard time imagining a relatable protagonist being from this specie.

Once I started into this book, I began to realize my concerns were without warrant. While reading this, I found myself barely even thinking about the fact that these characters where a different species. They were just people, damn interesting people I might add!

Niksabella the gnome has tinkered in the shadows for years, developing an invention that might change the world, even if she doesn’t know it yet. She has few friends and even fewer allies in the city of Hightower, where social and academic status is quite important. Her brother, Nikselpik, is a cantankerous wizard who drinks too much, sings dirty songs, and makes rude passes at gnomestresses. A dark addiction consumes him, a habit called bugging, which gives him increased power and feelings of euphoria while pushing him closer to death. Dark creatures from the ultraworlds have come calling. Niksabella must fight to protect her life and her invention, while Nikselpik engages the enemy as an unlikely guest of Hightower’s military elite. Niksabella and Nikselpik must find their true powers together, or perish apart. Will they heal the wounds of their childhood before it’s too late?

The story focuses on Niksabella, a tinkerer, or creator if you will, who is on the verge of changing the gnomish understanding of technology and her brother Nikselpik, a necromantic and all around bad ass wizard. Their names and love for each other is just about the only thing though these two seem to share.

When I first started reading this book, I felt I was not going to enjoy reading the Niksabella chapters. Her character agitated me at first, seeming self consumed with self pity. However, I continued to read, thankfully. Her character shows a lot of development from start to finish and the character the book ends with is far better because of that. By the end of the book I loved her, which is something that, quite frankly, surprised me.

Nikselpik was by far the best part of this book! He doesn’t shy away from a fight and wears his emotions on his sleeves. Acting on impulse, he never fails to make an interesting situation arise. If you’d have told me that reading a story about a self-destructive necromancing gnome (and enjoying it!) was possible before Rough Magic, I’d have called you crazy.

Overall, this novel has wonderful pacing. The prologue had me confused as ever and wondering what I got myself into, but once I got past that it was all downhill. The story progressed quickly and it wasn’t long before the first action sequence. From then on I was hooked and the story just pulled me in ever deeper as I flipped the pages.

The action scenes are wonderfully written. If you read this you can expect a bone crushing, blood gushing visceral experience. Kenny treats his characters like ragdolls and isn’t afraid to bloody them up for our reading enjoyment. But they give out as much as they take, so don’t worry about feeling like Nikselpik and these gnomes are just some pushovers. They fights seemed real, and the emotions of the characters are portrayed nicely. While reading it, I sympathize with the situations and found myself looking forward to when characters got what was coming to them. Believe me, Kenny created some truly dark and creepy antagonist that you just want to beat to a pulp, and he obliges that request on several occasions.

If you’re a fan of magic fantasy and you like a little dose of creepy, this is definitely a book you’ll enjoy. Once you get past the cutesy Gnome names, there’s a dark tale here that adult readers will eat up. By the time you’re done, you’ll be left begging for more!

If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to purchase Rough Magic here!


Roger Bellini


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