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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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Gek
Overall

TL;DR: For a paranoid mage the MC spends a terrible amount of time getting himself into conflicts which are the exact opposite of paranoid.

(trying not to spoil to much but there may be soft spoils ahead)

There is a lot to complain about in regard to the story and how it is developing the MC. For most of the story he is on the run, which is compelling in the beginning but I guess can only take me so far. He reveils himself to "friendlies" without knowing their nature constantly. He also knows enemies are enemies with no hostile action being determined on his part. (Some are clear, while others are just very questionable close) Friendlies treat him a bit like a Mary Sue. They themselves have every reason to be extremely paranoid of him in many regards, yet treat him like he is the most friendly murder-hobo you can imagine. Very annoying for the readers. A lot of the drama develops from both the MC and the reader not knowing the rules of the world. Yet our MC knows whos what somehow with little to no interaction or knowledge before hand. Probably the author not realizing they need to explain/develop things a bit better. MC is spends most of his chapters figuring out his magic. Little time is spent trying to figure out what he is actually up against. So the readers are left constantly guessing what the heck is going on and when something happens what will happen next. It takes a good writer to pull mystery off well... Generally readers should be clued in a bit more even if the MC is not. (Thats called suspense folks!) Thus action usually comes from outside the MC's control or knowledge. The MC never choses to engage first rather the situation is often thrust upon him. Later chapters desend into a complete murder hobo diary; with character development progessing on how easily our mage kills things. Most of the story fails to develop a motive for our MC other than running, and repeatedly killing for morals. Not all of it seems justified well, none of it is self defense, and often reassures himself that it is to protect society. Eventhough self admittedly killing the few people he does will not stop the crazy amount of bloodshed in the world. If anything the killing only tangentally adds to the suffering the increased insecurity of his life. Needless to say the number of enemies he has created in the story is massive due to his complete disregard to any selfish survival instincts. Best I can figure his paranoidness extends only to his ability to teleport away and thus everything related to that. Alternate story titles for this should be "Portal Purge", "Telemancer", "Displace-me-gic" and "Who knew I could teleport among other deliquent things?" Nothing truely paranoid about it.

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.

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

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 

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.

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

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.

Skink tail
Overall

Fun read but has some problems

Reviewed at: Chapter 20 – Defiance

VERY VERY MINOR SPOILERS

It's a fun read I enjoy all the application of modern science and technology in magic stuff but I find the whole GAR dictatorship kind of stupid it's like a baby organization that was given the power to rule the world and multiverse, their security is so lax and flawed I can't see why there aren't many rouge mages around the world, granted MC might haven't seen them yet. (Reading as of final chap of book 1)

But the GAR is comically bad at their job, they are also comically bad in a sense of their attitudes, as of now there has only been 2 people that  can be seen as good inside of GAR, others are snob, comically power hungry, and elitists. While it hasn't been stated yet, with the measly power the organization has on its own people I wouldn't be surprised to know that the U.S government would be stronger than GAR. But it's something I can choose to be blind on. 

Nonetheless a very fun read and good characters, I really enjoy the MC's "paranoidness" and also the slip ups he makes.

Final verdict: Must read for fantasy nerds like me :> 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey Watts
Overall

Obviously super early to fully judge this at chapter 5 but its definitly among the best written pieces I've encountered on here.

The pacing is wonderful, sucked me in from the get go. I'm no character expert but they certainly interest me. Grammer, word choice and general editing are great so far.

Only item I've got is that I really hope we get magic railguns.

 

EDIT: Came back a few chapters later, this is now up there with Virtuous Sons on the best of all time for me.

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.