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5 September 2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Written By: Mackenzie Flohr

RRP: £19.95 / $25.95 (Hardback) | £11.95 / $14.95 (Paperback) | £1.49 / $1.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Sebastian J. Brook

Review Posted: 5th September 2020

We've been incredibly excited to get stuck into Mackenzie Flohr's The Rite Of Wands - a fantasy saga that will speak to anyone who loves this popular, if crowded genre. Indeed, it takes something special to stand up above the crowd and get noticed; something this book did right from the off with some help from the striking cover artwork by Vern Firestone.

This is a tale of two young warlocks; Mierta McKinnon and Orlynd O'Brien - both wishing for more than their lot and coming to terms with their newfound powers. Both are wonderfully complex characters who share a number of similarities, but each are very much treading their own path. This is helped by the way in which Flohr keeps their stories separate, flip-flopping between chapters.

What we loved most about The Rite Of Wands, was how unpredictable it is. Yes, there's good and evil, but there are so many shades between that Flohr explores - particularly with Mierta. As the book progresses we see a time jump where our main protagonist has changed and you are left not really knowing where he or his intentions are going. This is someone you care about and the frustration you feel as a reader is just fantastic. Talk about gripping! The unpredictabilty is always in the back of your mind; just when you feel like you know a character, Flohr may just throw a curveball to flip the script (and your perception).

There are shocks, surprises and moments that will genuinely have your jaw dropping to the proverbial cobbled floor. We’ve not read a true fantasy adventure so captivating as this is since The Lord Of The Rings, and it's all down to Flohr's masterpiece in world-building. Rooms that characters enter are described in such rich detail that you feel like you're actually there. Characters faces are described in similar detail that you actually see them in your minds eye; Mierta's servant is a prime example: 

"He was a tall young man in his late teens. His long, curly, black hair had been tied back at the base of his neck. A short well-trimmed beard covered his strong jaw line, and his upper lip was covered by a thin moustache under a long beak-like nose. His fiery brown eyes betrayed his weary countenance."

Flohr, Mackenzie. The Rite of Wands (p. 35). BHC Press. Kindle Edition.

We mentioned earlier about a jump in time, and another tool that Flohr uses, rather fantastically, is the ability to go back and forth in time, seemingly effortlessly to fill in the character's backstory, whilst not too obviously distracting from the plot. With a character who can also see into the future, this also makes for an interesting device in the storytelling.

There's a great cliffhanger involving a certain character's fate - one which we will not reveal here because SPOILERS, but it is excellently played out and leaves you desperate to find out what happens next in this enchanting tale.

The Rite Of Wands is a perfect mesh of Doctor Who and Harry Potter, with the added adventure and fantasy of The Lord Of The Rings thrown in for good measure - it's literally all our favourite fandoms in one book!

Book 2 (The Rite Of Abnegation) was released earlier this year and DWO will be covering this title, shortly. Cant wait!

+  The Rite Of Wands is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Follow @MackenzieFlohr on Twitter.

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