Author: T.C. Orton
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/13/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Paranormal
It was only a week ago that William packed his bags for Oxford when a letter appeared in front of him in a blaze of purple fire before slowly descending like a feather riding the wind. He had plans to work in politics, to make the world a better place, to put all those top grades from high school to good use but none of that mattered to him anymore. William told everyone that he was off to Harvard instead, knowing that his British parents wouldn’t make the journey to visit him, and he headed for the portal disclosed to him in the letter.
Magic was real and William had a chance to spend the next three years studying it. He couldn’t let that opportunity pass him by, even if it meant giving up on what was surely a carved out future for the overachieving eighteen-year-old.
His fingers clutched the crumpled letter in his pocket as he began to tug, fighting the tightness of his jacket to free himself so that he could see which hall he belonged to. He yanked so hard that his hand flew back, ricocheting outwards until it met the person next to him.
“Sorry!” He called out in a panic, turning to apologize so fast that his glasses flung from his face and vanished into the crowd. “Dammit!” He added in a hiss of frustration, quickly tucking his wavy brown hair back behind his ears before it sprung free.
He was hardly the most graceful eighteen-year-old to have ever existed, nor did he do well in large groups that rushed around him. William preferred the quiet life, often opting for a cup of tea as he tucked himself into a blanket with his favorite book spread across his palm. He thought that Warlock Academy would be full of intellects like himself who would rather ingest wisdom than booze.
He was wrong.
So, three stars, which is not bad from me. I’ve already bought another book from this series, and my reservations about doing that are reflected in this review. I could have gone lower, but I want to credit a young author with creativity and hutzpah.
I would have preferred to have the book more like a re-imagined world of magical students and less a mildly pornographic Harry Potter. Orton has tried hard NOT to create Hogwarts, and succeeds mostly. There’s ethnic diversity, a range of nationalities (at least in the few characters we get to know), accompanied by a dearth of detail and some really inappropriate faculty behavior. I suppose making the Warlock Academy an all-male school could be more like the British public school system (assuming that’s true). The sense of physical place is thin (and I apologize for the constant comparison’s to Rowling’s books, but there you are) and there’s no sense of academic structure as a framework for the college boys’ experiences. There’s enormous potential here, if it didn’t feel so rushed, because Orton is all about the relationships among the various young men we meet along the way.
Orton gives us William Dicer, a British boy who gets a magical letter and bails on his matriculation at Oxford to go to the Warlock Academy (at an undisclosed location) for college. Right off he gets tangled up with Jake Minkovski, Sebastian Lockridge and Logan, whose last name I can’t remember seeing. Jake is a bad boy with a complex heritage; Sebastian is the red-headed snob with a private agenda; and Logan is the jock who is the president of the hot frat house, Blaze Coven. William is a shy, bookish boy who is just discovering his sexuality.
There are many nice details, many interesting ideas floating about in here. The fact that it’s all sort of a mess is something a really good editor could help with. The listed editor is the author’s partner, and with gentle respect, I suggest that Orton hire a good tough editor who doesn’t love him and can use a red pen and a riding crop to bring some literary control to this imaginative young writer’s efforts.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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