Book Cover
Title The Prodigal's Foole
Author R.B. Wood
Cover Art R.B. Wood & Sessha Batto
Publisher Pfoxmoor Publishing - 2011
First Printing Pfoxmoor Publishing - 2011
Book Cover
Title The Young Practitioner
Author R.B. Wood
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Category Urban Fantasy
Warnings None
Main Characters Symon Bryson, Peter, Aaron, Bill, Eden, Eve, Janice, Charles
Main Elements Wizards, demons
Website ---

Click to read the summaryThe Prodigal's Foole

I was really excited to get my hands on this book. As a big Dresden Files fan, I really wanted to read this book as it has a lot of similar elements.

Symon Bryson is a disillusioned wizard who, after a horrifying event that occurred ten years ago, turned away from magic completely. But a summons from his teacher reunited him with his fellow magic-wielding trainees from his youth. A strange sequence of events start to occur, forcing Symon to face his past and reconsider his future, as it becomes clear that he is the key to what is going on. He just wished he understood where he fit in!

Bryson's saracastic mouth, which seems to have a life on his own (Dresden fans will recognize this severe medical condition that apparently has no cure except one's foot), ensures that he's always getting into trouble with someone, especially his friends. While at first I didn't much like Bryson, he didn't come off as having the same kind of noble motives as Dresden, and had a temper that made him a lose cannon but without a good cause, he grew on me as the story evolved and he himself began to understand his own reactions better. He looks like a bitter jerk on the surface but it turns out he's really a good guy with just cause for being the way he is.

Each character has their own motives driving their actions and you're never quite sure exactly who you can trust. Throw in the Catholic Church, not exactly known for being forthcoming with their secrets, and a couple of demons whose goals are not what you might expect, and you've got a complex storyline that leaves you wondering what exactly is going on. I guess it would be a cliche to say no one is as they seems, but every character had a secret or motive that really changed the way events are interpreted.

Slowly but surely we are told what happened on Plum Island ten years ago, but it's what happened there that the characters did NOT know about that really adds the twists and turns. One thing I found a little annoying was how the Plum Island story was told to us. Chapters would alternate between the present and the past, and since each chapter is really short, I found we flipped back and forth a bit much. Also, something that could be learned from Jim Butcher, something I hadn't realized until I tried to figure out why I had no trouble putting this book down whenever I wanted, when the Dresden Files would keep me going - chapters need to longer and to end on cliffhangers. Most people stop when they reach the end of a chapter, but if you are left hanging, you just have to keep reading!

So while I was lukewarm at the start (beginning with a dream of Bryson blowing up an airplane and killing all the innocent passengers just to deal with single demon, kind of overdone!) I ended up really getting into the characters. The novel ends with a short excerpt from the next book in the series. It was a cruel treat, because just reading those few pages made me want to jump into the next story right then and there. Hopefully we don't have long to wait!

Is it as good as the Dresden Files? IMHO no, but if you're a Dresden fan and you are waiting for the next installment, I highly recommend The Arcana Chronicles.

Posted: February 2012


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