BLUNT FORCE MAGIC

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

This debut novel is thrilling, humorous, and fun. Some of the supporting characters fall a bit flat but I would read more from this author.
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"I'll crack on myself a lot I don't hate hate myself, so in truth if I rub people wrong or someone isn't too keen on me, that's fine. They don't have to live with me, I do."

I really liked the main character, Janzen. Although at first he was a little bit hopeless, I ended up liking him because of quotes like the one above (there are at least three more of this kind that I'm planning on writting in my quotes notebook), they all seem so powerful and they really spoke to my heart.

On the other hand, there where moments where I felt like he didn't have enough depth. For instance, his pain caused by the death of his people I could only feel bad for him but it never made me cry, not even a tear started to form. And there where other decisions he made that didn't make sense to me. Why was he so obsessed on rescuing Maria? I know at the end he mentions that it was because it reminded him of his family but until then I was completely clueless. 

"You should know that there is an ugliness just beyond our understanding that if we invite it, if we consider it too long, if we happen upon it, Will strike."

However, I have to admit that the first thing that hooked me where the monsters. We were only able to read about one in the begining but for me it was enough because it was so well described that I could vividly imagine it, even now I can tell you exactly how it was. Throughout the rest of the story we are able to see more monsters but for me those weren't as scary as the first one.

"Evil triumphs when good men stand idle."

Of course there where other characters and I have to say I liked most of them. Grover was definitely my favorite, so loyal, intelligent and strong. On the other side, stands Maria a character that I didn't feel anything for because we don't get to know her very much and that was a little bit frustating. Her death wasn't at all sad for me because like I said we only see her twice or three times and it's not possible for me to like a character that way. 

"Starting to hum Hips Don't Lie by Shakira. I was scared shitless and it was the only thing I could think up."

There was also a little bit of humor in this book, it didn't made me laugh out loud but it did made me smile and it was a nice touch after so many fights and blood that was going on.

All in all, I think this is a good book and I liked it because it has amazingly scary creatures and some really motivational quotes. However, I think it needed a little more depth and I would like to have known the characters more so I could love or hate them instead of what I feel now, I like some of them and the others I think I only know their names.
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I found Blunt Force Magic to be very reminiscent of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher with some Dungeons and Dragons elements mixed in. I really enjoyed the magic system and the way the author blended scientific principles with magical techniques. 

The inclusion of a prominent deaf side character was also something I really appreciated, the character was never made to seem lesser because of the loss of his hearing and proved to be a formidable ally throughout the story. The author also showed how minor adjustments to stereotypical action sequences and set pieces could made to easily accommodate diversity in abilities for characters and how they can even be used to the characters advantage. I hope more authors incorporate these character features in more urban fantasy.

I struggled a little with keeping some of the world-building straight as there are several different realms in this world so I felt there could have been little more spent clarifying the lore and layout of the realms and their names and denizens. The author did include several illustrations of various monsters and creatures over the course of the story and I found that inclusion to be quite helpful. It made certain sequences easier to visualise and a little more visceral, great when trying to build tension and suspense.

The major letdown with this story for me was that I was never quite certain how the author was trying to depict the main characters age. Janzen sometimes came across as a young man in his early twenties and then a few pages later a description would leave me thinking he is a grizzled man in his late forties. This led to a lot of confusion and unfortunately with the combination of the world-building and this uncertainty left this book feeling hazy and unpolished. 

Overall this was a really fun romp and a quick read.
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This book has drawn well-deserved comparisons to Constantine, Supernatural, and the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher. With a protagonist doing his best to get by, surrounded by a supporting cast of damn near every supernatural beastie you could think of, it's not hard to see why!

One of the big strengths of this book was the humour - urban fantasy tends towards this kind of banter, and that's because it works beautifully when done well! The artificing really stood out for me too - rather than having mystical powers, our hero has to craft his abilities, and it was something I don't think I've seen before.

Hopefully Janzen will have a bit more belief in himself by the next book, as that was the only thing that really started to turn me off this book by the end. Not being a cocky jerk is definitely a good thing, but there's such a thing as poor self esteem, and it can be just as irritating to the reader after enough repetition!

That said, I absolutely will be reading the next book, and my thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a free copy in return for an honest review.
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This is possibly one of the best urban fantasy novels I've read in a long time. Davis takes all the tropes that litter urban fantasy and turns them on their heads. It's not subversion so much as it is using a different lens to view the stories we are familiar with. Janzen is a true anti-hero, suffering from survivor's guilt, PTSD, and an anxiety that he may not be the best man for the job of saving others. Accompanied by a colorful assortment of characters, we watch as Janzen hacks together a plan to go toe-to-toe with living legend and myths that haunt the umbra under our beds. It's at once tongue-in-cheek, ponderous, and endlessly entertaining. Davis minces no words about what he's trying to accomplish in his narrative: a fun and easy read with a fascinating world and flawed and varied characters. It's definitely going on my favorites list.
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It was fun. Kinda like Harry Dresden meets the Iron Druid Chronicles. Janzen is definitely a flawed hero. He's  mediocre in almost everything.  He was an artificer, but not a very good one. He is super sarcastic and really resourceful. He is great at getting himself out of trouble but into bigger trouble at the same time.  I liked the interesting world building and all the dark, dry humor.

I do think that the pacing was off. It moved slow and I wanted it to pick up the pace. Also the dialogue dragged in a few places but overall it was a funny, enjoyable read.
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When delivery boy Janzen discovers an ancient evil has been summoned it thrusts him back into a life of magic that he thought he had given up forever…

I must admit Blunt Force Magic took me a little while to get into, I actually put it down to read something else after a few chapters before picking it up properly to persevere with it. I’m glad I eventually did as it’s a solid read and a good first book to what I think will be a stronger series. I really enjoyed the universe and the magic system – I just wish that it had been explored a little more in the book. This will perhaps be added into later books in the series. I did also feel in parts that it felt like it was mid-way through a series and not the beginning – certain parts of Janzen’s past I feel could have been explored a little more and it would have made him a better character as a result, particularly as this is our first introduction to him.

I found the plot a little basic – it’s all about rescuing a girl who can’t seem to rescue herself, despite apparently being quite powerful. She has no personality and I did wonder why Janzen was so attached to her, other than the fact that he finds her attractive. The character that I felt was the most realistic was Grove, the rest all felt a little 2 dimensional. I liked the action sequences and felt that they were well described and it was a fast paced read without much pause for rest.

Overall I enjoyed Blunt Force Magic although I feel that the following books might be a little more interesting, with hopefully a less basic plot and more explanation on the universe and magic elements. Thank you to Netgalley and WIldBlue Press for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I was approved for this book back in March. However 3 hours later it was archived and I never got the chance to download and read it. Which is a shame because I would have loved to.
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Blunt Force Magic just really did not work for me. This book reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, so if you are a fan of that series, you may like this book. Personally, I felt stifled and exasperated by the main character’s endless diatribes of insecurity to the point where I could not feel anything for the other characters and was annoyed by the constant fight scenes.

 

I did not feel attached to any of the characters at all. In fact, I really did not care if anything horrible happened to main character, Janzen and would have welcomed a reprieve from his self-deprecating sense of humor, something that was entertaining in the beginning and then got ridiculously and mind-numbingly old before the halfway mark in the book. At first, I found his admitting to all of his insecurities realistic and somewhat charming, but I soon felt like I was listening to the thoughts of a grown-up baby. It is clear the author has wit, and a lot of Janzen’s humor hits with a zing, but a lot of the time, that same humor felt like a shot in the dark rather than an actual successful joke. Regardless of whether these endless monologues of poor stand-up comedy hit or miss, I felt like my brain was being overloaded by Janzen’s chatter and I just wished he would shut up, something that was sadly impossible as he was the first person narrator of the book.

 

What’s more, was that between all of the wisecracks about his weight or his poor looks, we find out that Janzen is actually a super capable guy whom the underworld or whatever has been waiting to rise up and take the mantle of his former master and kick some serious abyss ass. This might have been cool if I weren’t so immune to the trope of a hero who feels he has failed, gone into hiding, and then comes back and saves the day. Plus, Janzen’s utterances of “this is my city” during fight scenes made me roll my eyes. Apparently, he’s Batman.

 

Sadly, I did not much like the other characters either. I did not care when characters who should not have been helping showed up to save the day or for a beyond the grave visit. Later, when one character died, my reaction was complete indifference. I did like Grove, a deaf character with military experience, but this may just have been because he did not ruin it by talking much. I couldn’t help but wonder if they included such a reticent character specifically in order to offset Janzen’s continuous stream of consciousness.

 

I ended up skimming the final battle and most of the fight scenes before it. They were countless. I felt like I was reading a shonen manga where half the book was a fight scene and the only dialogue was a single “POW,” scrawled across the center of the page.  Maybe if I were a younger boy, I would find all of these scenes riveting and whatnot, but I was super bored of them. What appeared to be a cool monster, pictured on the awesome cover of the book, was ruined by the fight scenes and by its sudden ability to talk, which immediately rendered it less mysterious and dangerous.

 

The one thing I did really think was interesting in this book was the magic system. I was interested in the artificery and wished that the book had focused more on that than the current endless fiasco with the wolf-bird-demon thing chasing them. I think the future novels will cover more of Janzen’s training as an artificer and maybe a future tinkerer, which might be interesting, but I don’t plan on reading the next novels in the series. Between the fighting and the awful, incessant narration, I was super relieved when the book was over.
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I found this book witty and entertaining.  It had a few flaws but nothing that made reading impossible and I feel that the author will improve as he continues to write, but for a first try I found it very good.

Janzen is an antihero who no longer has any faith in himself after he lost his mentor and co-workers.  He’s working as a delivery guy for a parcel company and he’s trying to remember where he saw the symbol and it’s meaning that’s on the door of a house where he regularly makes deliveries.  When an ancient monster comes crashing in he remembers what the meaning is but  that it’s not done correctly and his old life comes crashing back as he decides that he must save the young witch that the monster f after and himself since the creature now has him in its site.
After barely surviving his second encounter with the ancient creature, he is rescued by Grove, a deaf war veteran who joins him in his quest.  This book is filled with vampires that are truly hideous, other magical creatures and a coven of witches who are not what they seem.  Unfortunately, for Janzen and Grove most of them are suppose to remain neutral and there are severe consequences if they do not.

I have to admit that the ending really threw me, I didn’t the final battle ending that way and I found tears in my eyes while reading.  I did guess who was after Maria as Janzen and Grove began their investigation, but it did not decrease my enjoyment in reading the rest of the novel.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series and I’d like to become one of this author’s beta readers.

I don’t usually do this but I want to address the remarks made by another reviewer that low-balled the book because of lack of editing.  I have only given one review with a low rating based on editing; it was a book by a German author that I DNF and before I wrote the review I went to the Amazon GE site and saw that the original book had not capitalization, punctuation or any other structure that makes reading enjoyable.  While I agree that reviewers, especially those that do reviews for Netgalley or other sites like it should be honest and not rate a book higher than they normally would I also think that we shouldn’t be overly harsh just because a book is self-published by an author didn’t have a professional editor; this is a chance a reader takes when they read books that are by independent authors with small publishers or no publisher.  We certainly don’t give a low/negative review because we feel that other reviewers have rated it too high.

4.25/5 STARS:  **I want to thank the author and/or publisher for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are mine.**
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It took me a while to get into this book. I didn't really like the main character to begin with, but I kept going back to read more. I'm used to reading fantasy that has a female lead character, so this was a different point of view for me. Once I got into it, I was hooked, and really enjoyed the rest of the story. Loved the attitude and snark! Overall a fun read.
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I tried, I really, really tried. I kept picking this up, reading a few chapters, and then putting it back down. Rinse & Repeat. 

The premise sounds exactly what I would want in an urban fantasy...I just can't connect to the writing or the self-deprecating humor of the MC (which is usually the humor I love in a book). 

Maybe I'll try it again, but at this point, I just need to say goodbye and good luck.
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I really enjoyed this book. I was expecting another young adult story but this really isn't like that at all.  It is a proper grown up fantasy with great characters.  I loved the wonderfully wittiness and am looking forward to the next instalment.
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I'm a huge urban fantasy fan. Despite having become something of the 'flavor of the month', there are a lot of really high quality books and series from which to choose.

This series reminds me in a lot of ways of a lot of other scruffy, slightly disreputable, out of their depths, mages and wizards like Dresden, Atticus (iron druid), and the Sandman Slim books in all their sarcastic glory.

I love the original take on the main character. He's an artificer which I find cool as hell. He's well and truly out of his depth and more or less just has a bag of tricks to keep ancient evil creatures from snacking on him.

There's a nice mystery subplot which keeps the narrative moving along. The book is capably written and eminently readable.

It provided everything I look for in an urban fantasy: escapism, engaging characters, a great 'hook', a compelling story, humor, and a plot that kept me interested. Well played! I enjoyed it very very much and look forward to the rest of the series.

Four stars
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This sounded like a book I would love, but sadly that wasn't the case. I really didn't like the main character, and that made it very difficult to enjoy the story.
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I really don't understand how everyone seem so fund of this book! The main character is really full of himself, and the writing... always describing something, it's really break the action everytime. It's sad because the universe seem interesting, but I don't like reading the description of a leather jacket and sunglasses for half a page, then describing how big and dangerous the monster his, but that the main character is not afraid, because... of course, he has face much worst... Just show me the action, make a story and stop talking an describing everything. It was really the writing that had turn me off!!
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This was a really interesting start to a series packed with action, the paranormal, magic, and alchemy. The main character Janzen Robinson, wasn't half bad either with his troubled past, quick wit and quirky sense of humour. Janzen used to belong to a group of monster hunters until his group was wiped out by the very monsters they were hunting. His new job as a courier takes him to the house of the would be damsel in distress, a very good looking, with curves in all the right places kind of damsel in distress (these descriptions were emphasized heavily and many times throughout the book) who is coincidentally being targeted and hunted by monsters. Enter our ex-monster hunter Janzen, and voila, out of retirement he comes. Our hero of course, has a little help from his friends, a deaf decorated ex-military guy, a half elf, and various other beings that could go bump in the night. 

The story took a while for me to get into but the last 100 pages saw me hooked. I really enjoyed the dialogue, in particular, Janzen's inner monologues/arguments with himself. He's actually pretty hilarious. The plot jumped around a bit too much for me and I think the author dragged this out more than necessary. I really enjoyed the ending and I look forward to reading the second book when it comes out.
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An interesting fantasy, I'd recommend to older readers and hard-core fantasy.
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I really really wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t like it. The plot and the characters didn’t draw me in at all.
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Lawrence Davis is what would happen if Rick Riordan dropped YA and Greek mythology and turned to adult urban fantasy instead. Blunt Force Magic is hilarious, smart and overall a pretty great fantasy read with an undertone of mystery.

The fantasy element was fun and all (I mean, it's urban fantasy - it has monsters and vampires and magic and all that jazz), but what really kept me reading was the writing style and the dark humor that was, in all honesty, right up my league. Janzen is a self-aware, very likable lead with a mild douchebagery tendencies, who I was very much rooting from the very first page. I mean, all of the characters were pretty great. 

Blunt Force Magic also features quite a bit of diversity. I can't really tell if it was well executed since I don't really know what's considered offensive when it comes to disabilities. But it was there which shouldn't be a privilege in today's literature but I felt like I should give it some recognition and appreciation it nonetheless.

If you are looking for a fun urban fantasy, I say go for this. Seriously. I don't think you'll regret picking up Blunt Force Magic.
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