Secrets and Spellcraft by Michael G Manning

Posted by

I really loved the first book and so I bought the second in the series of Art of the Adept. I almost never do that, I just read the first in a series and move onto the next since most of my reading is either for SPFBO or review requests. Unfortunately, I DNF’d this book around halfway through.

The reasons for that are varied, and each of the issues by themselves wouldn’t have been enough for me to DNF, but put them all together and I just wasn’t enjoying myself like I was with the first.

One of the issues for me was the drastic tonal change from the first book into the second. In the first he was in the army, people were dying all around him, it got pretty dark and it was action packed. He was also training under his grandfather for a good portion of the book, learning how to control his magic and whatnot. This one takes place in a school and it feels like he was re-doing all the learning and training he did in the first book. I wasn’t really in the mood for that kind of story. I do love magic schools and training but in this case it lead into one of the other issues I had. Will became too overpowered and was breezing through just about everything. He was picked by his teachers to be an assistant because he was so powerful and knowledgeable, and in some ways he was superior to his teachers. It just got old after a while. I also feel like the characters weren’t as nuanced as they were in the first. It felt like they went from shades of grey to being either black or white, with a message of good vs bad… basically the opposite of the messaging in book one. One of the reasons I loved the first book is because it brought up questions of morality, justice, and what it means to do the “right thing” when there isn’t an obvious answer. Will also became … dumber? Almost every decision he made was clearly the wrong answer and it got him into trouble time and again. He didn’t learn though, he was just as dumb at the beginning as he was halfway through and I didn’t feel like reading any more because it became frustrating instead of fun.

I looked at the reviews when I finished and I was relieved to see I wasn’t just being overly critical, people site Will and his horrible decision making skills as a reason most people marked it down or didn’t enjoy the second installment.

“I have never in my life had a series take such a sharp turn from enjoyment to pure horror(not the good kind either, but rather seeing a horrible car wreck right in front of you).”

I’ve got to say I feel very similar.

Womp. Womp. Womp.

I don’t rate books that I DNF, so there will be no score for this book.