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Book Review: The Legend of Black Jack

Table of Contents

“They say he was an outsider. A man with no home, no family, no friend to call his own. The man with nothing left to love. The empty man.

They say he talked to animals. They say he traveled between worlds. They say he killed a god, and they may be right. He prowled the border between light and dark. He beat the devil himself with a walking stick. He healed a thousand people in a single day and killed a dragon the same midnight.

They say there was a woman. They say he died for her. No one knows the truth.

Those are the legends about him.

If you want to know the truth I will tell you.”

Title: The Legend of Black Jack

Series: N/A

Author: A. R. Witham

Page Count: 456

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: September 12th, 2022

I had heard about this one from the community both in Discord and on Twitter this Summer so I had added it to my short list and found some time here in early September to dive into this one. I honestly didn’t know much going in other than most readers I had seen enjoyed it to some extent or another.

I will say as interesting as the prologue was to start this book, by the second chapter I was scratching my head as our world was being turned upside down. The prologue had me expecting a bit of an Indiana Jones type of story which I wouldn’t have been mad about at all. However, the way this book progressed I ended up with very strong nostalgia vibes reminding me of fantasy movies from the 80s that I grew up watching. It felt like I was being throw back into fantastical worlds such as The Never Ending Story, Time Bandits, Dark Crystal or Labyrinth once again.

The pacing seemed very consistent for me. There was a lot of action or anxiety as we learn about the world and characters around our protagonist and his story. This was one of those books that I found time whenever I could to keep moving along with this story.

The character development was strong as well. We certainly learn a lot about Jack but as the story is told we learn more and more about many of the supporting characters as well. I’m not sure I’ll forget the introduction of Memphis to Jack for quite some time. That was the moment I shook my head wondering just what I had gotten into! There are also several touching moments near the end of the story and one specifically that actually got me a little choked up. It wasn’t a sad moment, just a very powerful and emotional moment!

The world building was another strong aspect of this read. We start our early learning about a few areas within Jack’s world in detail before we are transported to another fantastic world which spends most of the book learning about this new world. There were so many regions, environments, races and cultures introduced and explained to us by the author. There were so many different traditional fantasy aspects pulled into this grand story! We have pirates, mages, knights/samurai and deamons to make one hell of an adventure!

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I hope that Andy (now that I’ve finished his book, I hope I can call him that) can continue to give us more wonderful stories and worlds to explore in the future!

I think this book could appeal to many different readers since it touches on a lot of different sub-genres to fantasy. I’ve since seen this book categorized as a Young Adult Portal Science Fiction Fantasy. And though it does have aspects that fit that, I hope that doesn’t turn readers off from giving this one a chance. It’s not a very long read and the style is a very easy read as well. Definitely worth the time!

World Building 5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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