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Book Review: imPerfect Magic

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After hundreds of years of dying, you’d think I would’ve perfected it by now…

One moment I’m a heretical priest in the twelfth century, hunted, hated…The next, I’m waking up in the nearest corpse. Stuck in a cycle of instant reincarnation, popping back up like a tarnished penny.

Fast forward eight hundred years, and you might think I’ve learned a thing or two. Nope. All I’ve learned is how to die far too easily, far too often.

Now my territory in the South of France is under threat and I find myself trapped by impossible angel-made runes. If the angels have gone full red lightsaber evil, it might not only be my territory in danger, but the whole of reality itself…

I need to stop whoever is behind this, and now. After all, you can’t come back to life, if there’s nothing left to come back to.”

Title: imPerfect Magic

Series: The imPerfect Cathar #1

Author: C.N. Rowan

Page Count: 298

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: July 12th, 2023

My sixteenth read from SPFBO-9 is imPerfect Magic by C.N. Rowan. The cover and blurb for this one seemed a bit different for me as I was creating my TBR from the competition entries. I figured I’d toss it on the list and give it a try. I’m happy that I did.
 
I’ll start by saying I opted for the audio version of this which the author C.N. Rowan himself narrates. I think he did a fantastic job. Between his performance and the creation of these characters I had vibes of Christopher Ecclestion’s performance in the film Gone in 60 Seconds. The author definitely brought those vibes similar to Raymond Calitri to this performance.
 
Next, I have to mention the humor in imPerfect as it had me in stitches at times. A couple of notable moments has to be the scene mentioning a rendition of Cotton Eyed Joe performed on a harp! As well as the well known fact that werewolves are the cockroaches of the world of magic. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that but it was hilarious to me. Now I will mention that referencing our antagonists over and over again as Shit Wizard and Phone Dick did get slightly annoying to me by the end. I get that we might not have known who these characters were for a very long time and that those titles may have been fitting and comical initially. They did just get old for me.
 
Pacing was well done for this. As I mentioned the narration may have played a big part in this for me. It is a book on the shorter size compared to a lot of my reads which might have also made it feel it went a bit fast. But we have plenty of action and suspense throughout the first book in this series. I had no real issues with the writing style or names to get hung up on or confused by either.
 
The world building was interesting. What we do learn and experience was well done. We get a good feeling for what is going on around our characters. Whether that is environment or how we should be feeling. Now perhaps some of this will come out in time as I know there are several books to this series and I do hope to continue it in the future. But I just felt like I wish I had a chance to learn more about Paul’s 800 years prior. I felt like this might have been a missed opportunity initial at the start of the series here. I hope we do learn more about that time in future books.
 
Putting aside all the humor and language mentioned above, I do feel the character development was done well. I’d still love to learn more about the lives Paul has lived before this story but that’s asking a lot to cover 800 years. We learn quite a bit to help us understand who he is today and the actions he’s taking which is all we can really ask for in this amount of time. As the story unfolds we also find out more about the supporting characters and antagonists to help us understand why they are the way they are. So again, taking into consideration this is only book one of the series and it’s not a long one at that, I thought C.N. Rowan did a really good job with these characters.
 
All in all this was an entertaining story for sure. I do feel the author’s narration was a huge contributing factor to that. But I do plan on continuing this series as time allows.
 
I’d recommend this to readers who might be looking for a humorous mystery wrapped in a modern fantastical world of magic. At times I got a mixture of vibes like Dresden Files meets Sherlock Holmes but a bit darker and more edgy at times.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
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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