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Book One: Paranoid Mage

Callum had seen things all his life.  There are monsters and beasts living among people, but he learned very early not to admit such things, not if he didn’t want people to think him crazy.

It turns out that the supernatural is real, but at thirty Callum has no desire to be part of that secret.  Not that he has a choice when it turns out he is a mage, albeit one that hasn’t cast any spells in all his life.  There are requirements, duties, and education that the powers that be insist he be subject to.

To hell with that.

Book Two: Renegade Mage

After escaping from the Guild of Arcane Regulation and the Bureau of Secret Enforcement, Callum has lost his greatest protection: his obscurity.  Now the powers that be know who he is, and hiding is harder than ever.  Nor is hiding a plan, just a reaction.

Now Callum is forced to decide how he wants to approach the supernatural world, and how he’s going to keep himself secure when the apparatus of government is arrayed against him.  Even if he wanted to live as a mage, that bridge has been thoroughly burned, and even if he wanted to live as a normal person, he is far too deep to close his eyes to what he’s seen.

He has to make his own terms.


Paranoid Mage is an urban fantasy but it goes rather sideways from the normal stuff fairly quickly. 

Chapters are Fridays, 5PM EST, with approximately 5,000 words per chapter.

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nozon
Overall

a modernish magic story with a strong willed mc

Reviewed at: Chapter 1 - Revelation

It's good so far(only the first chapter is out) I've been very engaged with the mc's and other characters thought processes. I can't wait to see how the mc messes with the magical society and vice versa. I am also interested to see how the magic system is explained since it seems to be a powers vary from person to person and wacky stuff always occurs in these.

Arkhron
Overall

Another success from this author!

Reviewed at: Chapter 3 - Escape

Only three chapters and I'm hooked. I must confess I'm partial, having been a big fan of his other opus, I only wish he could write this faster.

The protagonist is smart and paranoid, realistic and cynic about the government. 

The descriptive writing of spaces and secondary characters are delightful and captivating.

13/13 gonna keep reading 

BoredSloth
Overall

As long as you don't overthink it

Reviewed at: Chapter 11 – Offer

Just check out comments under chapters, I didn't see so many discussion s about inner workings of magic or things people expect to happen since MoL.

It is just quality that isn't there. MC has no real personal goals and motivations and feels in too big part as some kind murder-hobo. The supernatural factions are dumber and more incompetent than their muggle counterparts.

I read all 20 available chapters anyway but that only means average stuff is good enough for me

Lavagolem
Overall

Paranoid Mage starts strong, with an interesting idea of a hidden world right among us that isn’t the great opportunity for adventure you expect, but a threat to the MCs freedom.

So he gets the hell out of there and his journey of avoiding the magical government starts. What starts as an interesting story with tension devolves pretty quickly to me feeling like I’m reading an elaborate checklist, because when the MC sets himself a goal and it’s remotely important, he’ll get it done no matter how much sense it makes.

He immediately starts to teleport things around and more importantly he creates a way to hide his magical signature without any effort. Alright, maybe it’s common practice in the magical world so it’s reasonable? It isn’t though, we even get told that it’s so rare that a member of the magical community only met one other person that hid his magical presence and that was an Archmage, not some runaway without any training.

Pseudo-telekinesis is next and then he notices his tattoo is making problems so he just decides to teleport the part out of his body that is responsible. One try later, done. Problem solved…

 

All of the above happens in one chapter by the way and it’s literally the first chapter the MC gets some time to settle after running away. The absolute ease in which he achieves it devalues the accomplishments to me as a reader and stretches my suspense of disbelief that something a runaway mage figured out in hours or even on the fly isn’t already common knowledge in magical circles.

Even when magical agents get involved, they have no answers for a massacre the MC pulled off without a hitch. His method:

“Without pausing even slightly he conjured two pairs of portals. One was inside the end of the shotgun barrel, with the exit right at the mage’s temple, fractions of an inch away.”

 

That’s it. That’s all he did. You want to tell me he is the first space mage to think of that? It’s so simple that it feels like a cheat. Are space mages so rare that nobody protects themselves from that and if it is that devastating, why are there spatial mages mostly working in transportation like we get told at the beginning before the MC runs? It just doesn’t work for me.

As a result of the reasons stated above, I feel like the MC doesn’t really earn his accomplishments while acting as a part of an engaging world. Instead it happens because the author brute forces it.

xcares
Overall

Has issues but it's still great fun

Reviewed at: Chapter 7 – Consequences

I'm not big on magic with a modern setting. Especially settings where normal people just don't notice the supernatural because of a magic gimmicky safeguard. A werewolf just transforming in front of the camera of a CNN live transmission is somehow always conveniently countered by some magic...
Right-O.

There's is also the fact the MC seems a bit too competent. He's pure excellence. So far hasn't made one bad call. Hope that changes.

This is still too fun a read to be dropped. I'm progressively finding myself not really caring about obvious plot holes.

Recommended

Fnord43
Overall

Magic is power & power corrupts

Reviewed at: Chapter 1 - Revelation

Read up to chapter 5 on subscribestar. Enjoyable worldbuilding, a society built on magic is built on power, and tends to use much more naked and power oriented politics and policies. I won't go into details to avoid spoilers. The author has definitely shown improvement from having the practice of writing and COMPLETING their first serial novel. If you want something with depth and a realistic feel this story is a good bet and the author has already demonstrated their reliability so you don't have to worry about getting invested in a story that will be dropped.

maclit
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Solid so far, could go either way later

Reviewed at: Chapter 16 – Advancement

Context:  I am up to date on Patreon and look forward to how this story progresses.

Overall:  This one is a good mix of politics, action, progression, and satire rolled into one.  It blends modern urban with portal fantasy.  If you like a slightly more complex story line with decent character development, I recommend it.

Style:  The story is primarily from the MCs POV, with some shifts to explain the current situation or provide more details/background on the world.  Although I generally dislike POV swaps, this is well done so far.  I also appreciate a modern fantasy that does not limit itself to major cities.  The author has a world the reader recognizes to work with, and he makes excellent use of it. 

Grammar: The chapters are longer than normal and pretty well edited.  No real issues and above average quality for RR.

Story: This is set up as a modern world fantasy with some portal stuff thrown in.  The world is as we know it with the supernatural as a shadow world overlay on top of it.   The backstory of magic in the world is still developing but seems interesting.  There is a general theme of anti-authority and the stagnation caused by a combination of greed and bureaucracy that is ever present but not overwhelming to the point of distracting from the story.  If you dislike politics in your fantasy, this may be a deal breaker for some readers.

Character:  The MC has a strong rebel vibe that at times overwrites what most would consider his better judgement.  It is not entirely clear how far this mindset will go but think a toned down Carl from DCC.  I enjoy the fact that the MC must work for what he has and demonstrates a necessary drive to improve himself.  Some of the details of his training can be a bit tedious, but these sections are kept fairly short.  One of the weaker parts of this story are the side characters.  They come across as flat caricatures for the most part.  This feeds into what he is rebelling against, but is not sustainable if the story will continue to be as good as it is now.  I am curious which direction it will take. 

hefeystus
Overall

The story you always want from similar situations

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 – Trouble

High quality, consistent output of the story where the character is sufficiently paranoid yet not an edgelord. Instead of feeling plot driven, the character feels bound by information in a reasonable way. Like if you combined a published novel, HPMOR and "were the magicians in Now You See Me wizards or what?" vibes.

NuitBlanche
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Talented writing, delightful story

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 – Trouble

It's been a long time since I last left a review but I felt like this story deserved one. And quick PSA : there won't be any spoilers in this review.

For one it's an original setting, which is commendable, obviously it picks a lot from traditional fantasy but what story does not nowadays. Moreover it does so in a style specifically efficient and efficace at it immediately pulls you in the story and doesn't ever let you get bored of the narration. 

The pacing is great, as action scenes are mesured and strategically introduced, and exposition is done tactfully in a way to always keep your interest.

Characterization is absolutely great, each character gets its voice and sticks to it. Lots of different people are introduced and they are all memorable one way or another.

MC is particularly good, he's not an absolute sociopath and seem even pretty morally upright which I can appreciate even more seing a lot of authors get off on writing evil or really morally grey characters sometimes.

There are clear separation of scenes, it never feels hard to know when a specific act ends and another begins.

And to conclude, Author-sama is either great at grammar or he's got an awesome proofreader !

 

I highly recommend.

KoboldPatrol
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It's not paranoia if they're really hunting you

Reviewed at: Chapter 2 – Hunting

(as of book 2, chapter 2)

Callum has seen clearly magical things his whole life, concealing that ability in order to not end up in a mental institution. One day he ends up in a clearly magical situation and it is found out that he is a mage. Of the rare "space" variant even, yay! It also turns out that each mage will be press-ganged into working for the hidden magic society, starting with a time of rather lethal forced labor. Not yay! Callum decides that people should be free and runs away instead. Now that the whole magic society is hunting him for escaping the draft, he has to stay hidden. That works best when you are a 'Paranoid Mage'.

Style/Story/Grammar: The story is told in third-person style and most of it is from Callum's POV. Some parts follow the people he interacts with or who hunt him, ranging from recurring POVs to once-only glimpses. The author is doing a very good job building scenes and creating a comprehensive picture of what happens. This is Urban Fantasy with some aspects of a spy novel. World building is happening in small snippets, just like the MC finds out on his own. Word choice is rich and the prose runs very smoothly. Grammar is excellent. The pacing is good, the story has quick action and leisurely preparation/experimentation and careful but friendly social interaction. There is clear plot progression and character growth, both coming naturally from the events and interactions the MC has. 

Characters: The main character, Callum, is a straightforward and genuine guy with good morals and a mostly smart head on his shoulders. Learning about magic and becoming a fugitive turns his life around, but he is handling that pretty well. The depiction of his new, secret life is realistic in that Callum does not do everything the right way. No, he's not some perfect Mary Sue, he makes some dangerous blunders. But that is normal, he's just a normal guy in over his head after all. Additionally, he sometimes deliberately takes a more difficult path because it is the right thing to do. The combination of good and bad parts makes for a realistic personality. All other characters get much less time in the story. There are a handful of people who are shown again and again, both allies and adversaries. Each of them has their own motives that drive their actions. Some of these motives might be clearly wrong from a reader's standpoint, but they are consistent in themselves. On the other hand, each of the side characters only fits one niche so far; perhaps they get fleshed out more later. 

All in all, this is a great story. It took me a while to start reading it, because even with the very high placement in the "best rated" list the blurb held me back. Then I binged it within 5 hours (yeah, the chapters are pretty long at around 5000 words each), even favoriting it before I was finished. I addition to the high quality of the writing, I especially like that not everything goes smoothly for the MC; there are realistic setbacks on his way and he has to overcome them.