The Reluctant Court Wizard

The Reluctant Court Wizard

by Zenopath (AEV)

When Jason graduated top of his class in the Magnus Academy he thought he'd have his choice of jobs. Unfortunately, a royal decree asked for the top graduating student to be sent to the capital to serve as the new court wizard. Left with little choice, Jason took the job, reluctantly. As a commoner, he knew he'd be at a disadvantage in the politics driven royal court. Jason expected that his new job would test his wits as he'd have to struggle to fit in and keep himself out of trouble amidst all the intrigue. What he didn't expect was that the kingdom would quickly fall into crisis soon after he takes the post.

Cover art generously donated by JackOfHeart - Thank you so much.

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Author
Zenopath (AEV)

Zenopath (AEV)

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Talks in a Carriage ago
Chapter 2: Shops and Enchantments ago
Chapter 3: Stars and Ethics ago
Chapter 4: An Unfortunate Encounter ago
Chapter 5: Underhanded Tactics? ago
Chapter 6: Aftermath and Bath ago
Chapter 7: Unfriendly Work Enviroment ago
Chapter 8: Rivalry and Contempt ago
Chapter 9: Breaking Things With Magic ago
Chapter 10: Dark Grey Magics ago
Chapter 11: Pre-Battle Planning ago
Chapter 12: The Orc King's Crown ago
Chapter 13: Interlude - Lily's Chapter ago
Chapter 14: The Shaman's Duel ago
Chapter 15: Truth and Souls ago
Chapter 16: Dreams and Darkness ago
Chapter 17: Searching for Answers ago
Chapter 18: Bulls and Bargains ago
Chapter 19: Flaming Disposition ago
Chapter 20: Clues and Concerns ago
Chapter 21: Drama and Politics ago
Chapter 22: Belated Realization ago
Chapter 23 Interlude - Rebecca’s Chapter ago
Chapter 24: Treason or Treachery? ago
Chapter 25: Family and Legal Questions ago
Chapter 26: A Royal Headache ago
Chapter 27: More Conversations in a Carriage ago
Chapter 28: Lies and Cowardice ago
Chapter 29: Dropped Calls and Lazy Wings ago
Chapter 30: Wings of a Different Kind ago
Chapter 31: Interlude: Rebecca and Lily Talk Magic ago
Chapter 32: Interlude 2: Elizabeth Talks With Brother. ago

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Ehbon
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Enjoyable, but problems are apparent.

Reviewed at: Chapter 15: Truth and Souls

*Reviewed as of chapter 15

Overall, I would say that this story is worth the read, but it also suffers from a number of issues that I think really detract from it in it's entirety.

Firstly, the story, or rather what little of it we've seen so far. Not much to go off of, but from what of it I have seen... it's mostly just the standard 'decent king but horrible children he for some reason never does anything about' along with 'independent organizations that seem to have way too much authority within a sovereign state'. A lot of the threats to the main character also come about due to his own bumbling and seeming lack of care towards anything that has happened so far. Which, of course, makes it harder to be invested in the story when the main character himself isn't. 

As an example, the main character goes down to a dungeon on order of the King to rescue his nephew or what have you and then finds out it is all a hoax when his familiar comes to recall him because the King has been magically attacked and is in some sort of coma. You would think that, as the Court Wizard responsible for the King's wellbeing, he would go right to the palace to try and help with his Alchemy proficiency right? Wrong, he goes home and has a nice dinner instead because he just doesn't seem to care. Heck, he's even told by his attendant that checking on the King is his responsibility and he immediately tries to shuck it like a reticent child, asking why they can't just call other wizards who know Healing magic. Issues like this are littered throughout the story and utterly annihilate any tension, in my opinion.


Next on the list is the characters themselves, and so far there aren't many that have been named... but I'll do my best. The King seems decent, not stereotypically supernaturally skilled or stereotypically lazy and useless. A nice balance of good and bad character traits. The same can be said for most of the characters introduced so far, with a couple of very important and glaring exceptions.

The main character Jason and the seamstress girl he's most interacted with feel... off. Jason doesn't care about his role/responsibility, is his own worst enemy, and seems to have a very good magical education that also conveniently didn't include the things he would need most for his new position (Or he just flat-out ignored them because he didn't like the subject). And yet, on several occasions, he has recklessly risked life and limb to complete tasks or compete in duels that he frankly didn't have to. Why does he do these things when it's so clear from context clues that he really just can't be bothered to take his job seriously? The seamstress herself is equally as contradictory, in her little side chapter we see that she just didn't want to be poor (the reason she took the job and was okay with being a mistress) and is actually now quite financially secure from her new employment with Jason yet she continues to throw herself at him for no reason despite having her advances rejected on numerous occasions. Not out of genuine desire either, she seemed to only do this because she wanted job security or to move up in the world, so why is she jeopardizing that?

The style and grammar of the story I have few complaints about, though I do think the author needs to work on tone a little bit. So far, the main character uses slang like 'ok' and so forth in-dialogue and it makes every conversation read like a text message. In addition to that, 'huh' and 'uh' are overused (though admittedly that is quite common on this site) and it makes characters seem more airheaded than would otherwise be intended. With the exception of Primrose, who is the only side character that feels like she has her own unique voice besides Jason's familiar, everyone else speaks and acts like Jason; another thing to watch out for (though it's just something that comes with practice).

All that being said, I stand by the comment that I enjoyed reading this and only haven't completed reading what is out so far for fear of cliffhangers. There is lots of interesting storytelling and worldbuilding being set up, and I want to see how things pay-off/escalate. Despite my various criticisms, I was invested enough to keep reading and even write this review, so that says something. 

HoloSol
Overall

Rewritten without the seamstress? 4/5

Reviewed at: Chapter 3: Stars and Ethics

The story has a lot of potential. A rewrite could easily see this as a best rated story, since the framework is there.

For the record, I'm all for having a touch of romance in the books I read; in fact, I prefer it. However, the seamstress character doesn't make sense and other reviewers describe her better in more detail. The seamstress character needs to be a seamstress in the event of a rewrite. As of now, she is a piece of cardboard modeled into a personlike figure that has acquired some weird mold on it, so unfortunately, any character that comes in contact with her immediately feels less real.

Also, I'm all caught up with the chapters, but wasn't logged in at the time.

Ardorr
Overall

The story has a nice setting with pontetial but suffers from a 1D MC that the only thing his brain is only good  for magic and nothing else. This kind of MC is no good in a story that the plot is full of court intrigue and schemes. The MC doesn't have any social/espionage/stratigic skills, I mean he is supposed to be the top student in his class and he doesn't even think of using a defensive spell to counter divination spells. I mean he is one of those stand japanese novel MC that has power but no brain which makes you think how the f*** did he even acquire this power and the author will tell you he swung his sword a million times. For me this ruins the story but in general if you like Jnovels you will want to read this novel to.

In a few words great setting but has a really weak(in the brain) MC.

MeanMachine
Overall

The story is a bout a young wizard graduate that spend no time socializing with his peers, then is sent to be the king's court wizard, the MC has nothing exept his familiar that makes him pop out, I found the characters plain and not really fleshet out, every chapter is short with barely a development hapening, the MC is about to start a sort of harem comedy crap so I would see to add that tag in the future.
all in all it feel that there is no backbone to the events, it lacks direction.

not going to keep reading but I hope I gets at least a little bit better once there is like a hundred chapters to see the events play out.

Rattatoskr
Overall

I suspect any normal person will enjoy this story, but if you are tired of soy protagonists somehow existing in medieval times then this is not the story for you. The entire monarchy makes almost no sense and has 0 feeling of a monarchy, there is no symbolism or belief.

Somehow only adventurers delve into dungeons which give powerful items and resources, neither wizards nor kings seem to care about giant gold and power mines. Overall a fairly plain story, if you consume soy products you will certainly enjoy this one.

Garlath
Overall

Likeable and mostly rational main character. Great setting that we have so far only touched the edge of. Love the magic system and the characterisation.

Level of politics is about right - it's there and interesting but isn't done to death.

Level of fighting is also pretty good - again, it's there and well written but not overblown or overly dominating the story.

Definitely recommend and can't wait for more!

SQLmancer
Overall

I love the story so far.  It has action, political intrigue, and interesting characters.  The dialogue is witty and entertaining.  I'm rating this as 6 stars.  The extra star is because the main character isn't an emotionally crippled, insanely overpowered, murder hobo.  I'm really looking forward to the next chapters in this story.

Larker
Overall

The main character is powerful because by chance he has been born with much bigger magic energy reserves than most  other people, which is something that is addressed early on and which contributes to the verisimilitude of the setting. The magic system is reminiscent of other sources of inspirations that have also inspired Dungeons and Dragons, without all that LitRPG talk weighing the story down: that is a very nice bonus to add to this story.

Unfortunately, there are also things that make me a bit leery of the story at times, such as when an almost-foe tries to maneuver the main character into a bad situation because they were lucky enough to overhear a mistake the main character made by pure happenstance. I hope that chance won't only always work against the main character but also with him, to balance the odds and even the playing field in the future: this is the biggest gripe I have with the story so far though, which of course is not enough to stop me from reading further.

I can't wait to see where this story will go!

Tribbles
Overall

The people who are best in positions of power are tones who don't really want that power. This holds true for the protagonist in this story. He's quite good at the job, to the point of being almost OP, but he's flawed enough to still be interesting.  The supporting characters and the world building are interesting, as is the plot so far. The writing style is clear and easy to read. All in all, I recommend this rather enjoyable read. 

Para
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I like the idea of the story and the main character actually has a character and lots of room to grow. The magic system and world is interesting and explored/explained further with every chapter. I also like the animal companion, especially that she has a will of her own.

What I am uncertain about is where this story is going. At the moment it seems it gets more political and dangerous, but even in the short time in the dungeon I didn't feel there was any danger to the main character. Yes, he is strong, but there are plenty of creatures and probably humans stronger than him, especially if they exploit his mistakes (I don't mean the ones he made due to not knowing anything about life at the palace but stuff that anyone would see. For example, who uses their whole mana in one fight if they know the next one is just around the corner?). But these mistakes haven't had any big repercussions yet. I hope that will change a bit in the future, because growing also includes reflecting and learning from past actions.

Except for Jason and Primrose the characters aren't very deep or 3 dimensional. The seamstress is pretty stereotypical and annoys me extremely. I understand fearing for your job, but a person has more things motivating her actions and thoughts than that. We have been introduced to around 10 characters by now that seem to play a bigger role, not counting the adventurer team that may or may not reappear later. Here I am hoping for some better characterization or at least a more focused one. On the other hand, with some characters it may be intentional.

Grammar etc is ok, but could use a beta reader. There are some mistakes but I can overlook them while reading. Similar is the style. Could have some improvements to have a better flow in the story, but it's ok.

Overall it's not a great story but a good one with potential to grow. May rewrite this once I know where it's going.