Spellslayer 1: Curse of the Wizard’s Guild by V. Greene
How much trouble can a trained barbarian hero and a celibacy-sworn Guild wizard get into?
Turak is a barbarian by trade, breaking down doors, scaling walls and occasionally even rescuing a puppy. A sword-carrying professional hero, he is comfortable in his skin, easygoing and partial to men. But even heroes can hide darkness inside.
Gazriel is a wizard trained by Thallia’s Guild, sworn to scholastic endeavors and celibacy, doomed to spend his life clawing for precedence within the cutthroat politics of the Guild. His dark secret is his street-urchin past, doing whatever he had to if it kept him alive.
Set up to become enemies, they find themselves sharing a meal–and adventures. Their trail of broken rules soon puts them on the path to assassins, quests, and a tavern brawl or two.
Curse of the Wizard’s Guild is a delightful action story with a great sense of humor and a couple of fascinating characters. The romance aspect of the book is lacking slightly but the adventure more than makes up for any problems. This quick and delightful story is simply great fun set in a familiar fantasy setting. Those fans who read a lot of fantasy will feel right at home in the world of magic, wizards, and barbarians but it’s not too daunting to scare away newcomers to the genre. The quests these two intrepid travelers take on are entertaining, humorous, and surprisingly dangerous. This sets up what is sure to be a thoroughly enjoyable series.
The story is comprised of seven chapters and each chapter contains a specific event or purpose. The first chapter gives Turak’s background in school, as he’s training to become a barbarian. At the same time, he’s learning of his sexual leanings (to boys), which ends in tragic consequences for his best friend. In this series of events, Turak comes to own the famed sword, The Spellslayer, which can repel magic. The second chapter introduces Gazriel, similarly at school, but showing the competitive nature of wizards and the importance of their chastity vows. Gazriel is the focus of a cruel trick and his desire for revenge throw his character into sharp focus.
The third chapter has the two meeting up and from there the action really begins. The two have adventure after adventure involving puppies, curses, fights, wizards, Undead, Willow trees, and a slew of good and bad luck. The characterization of the two men is decent, although there are significant holes. The tragic actions of Turak’s past show very little current consequences in his actions, except one important scene, and I expected the easy going barbarian to show more personality. The humor, insight, and kind nature are repeatedly offered but hopefully in future books each character will deepen and grow in maturity and complexity. Gazriel is more interesting with his complicated nature as a disgraced wizard and fellow traveler. Gazriel’s choices don’t entirely make much sense, given his past and there is a marked lack of development once the two men get into their adventures.
If the characters seem to stagnate slightly when the action picks up, the pure enjoyment of the book takes over. The various adventures from fleeing the wizard’s guild to Lousy and even their brief encounter with a religious cult all give the book an entertaining, humorous pace which keeps the action quick, dialogue witty, and the romance brewing just out of sight. The relationship between the two suffers slightly as the focus is on Turak and Gazriel’s travels and fights. There are hints and small details that show the growing bond between the two and they are well suited to traveling together thus hopefully their connection and relationship will continue to grow in future books.
The setting is well crafted with the familiar fantasy setting with wizards, barbarians, and magic, yet the writing has a distinct style and use of prose that injects a fresh perspective. The crisp dialogue is filled with humor and wit, making the entire narrative engaging and delightful from start to finish. The characters play off each other with companionship and chemistry that fulfills a great best friends as well as a lovers theme. The fantasy setting is both familiar enough to entice readers and offers unique aspects that will continue to entrance fans. The use of a few secondary characters’ point of view is surprisingly effective and works well to offer both world building and an outsiders’ view of the main relationship.
As an introduction, Spellslayer 1 completely delivers. Hopefully future books will allow for more character and relationship growth, but I can’t wait to read more adventures of Turak and Gazriel. Fantasy lovers will enjoy the fresh take on the genre while those fans of light, action filled fun adventure with a splash of romance will also appreciate this offering. I’d easily recommend picking this book up today and indulging in a great story.
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