Publisher's Note:  

Everyone in the islands of O Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is awarded the title of magician and given fame, power, riches, and glory. Journey with a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician s Workshop.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Wondertale

The Magician's Workshop (Volume One)

by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

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Overall Review:  

The Magician's Workshop is an interesting story about a time after a Flood where people are able to "project" images over reality. With the use of "Glory" (the sense of wonder and emotion one gets from a good projection) and "Kingdom" (the overall realism of a projection), characters are able to change the appearance of everything, from clothes and buildings to the taste of projected food.

On the islands of O'Ceea, it is the dream of every child to attend the coming-of-age Color Ceremony and have a color "pulled" from them, which will give them a shot at scoring into the coveted Magician's Workshop. Only those with Color are allowed to continue their projections and become mages. Those who are "void" must either give up their dreams and pursue other ways to make a living, or struggle to attain a status that will allow them to continue projecting.

Written by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr, The Magician's Workshop did feel a bit self-published;I did catch a few typos here and there (unphased rather than the correct unfazed, for example), and there is a significant lack of commas where commas are needed. But despite its occasional spelling and grammar errors, this book dealt primarily with a plot, a unique magic system unlike anything I've encountered before, and multiple viewpoints of numerous characters' thoughts and actions leading to the Color Ceremony where their lives will be changed forever, for better or worse.  It might not have been the most perfectly edited book, and it could possibly have had some extraneous material cut. But it was refreshing to get a book that dealt less with the fate of the world and a romantic element that usually overwhelms the plot, and to get a solid coming-of-age story where characters were only concerned with the fate of their own futures. It was also refreshingly character- and plot-driven. So while I did catch a few grammar issues, this story engaged me far more than a lot of popular works being published today, and I think it would be well received by parents looking to give their children something wholesome and magical to read. The Magician's Workshop is a great story idea with a great overall plot, and some really great characters to root for.

There are currently two volumes in this series, and I'm looking forward to seeing how many more books about the islands of O'Ceea these authors will give us.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: None  (Note:  A character projects a "hell-dog," but that name is the only use of the word "hell.") 

Violence/Gore: Characters use projections to scare each other; a character's projection becomes too powerful and frightening to control and causes devastation in a village; a character is knocked over; a character pretends to punch another; characters have a verbal argument; a character is isolated from others and treated as a village outcast; the discovery of a character's projection leads to a threat of repercussion and punishment; adult characters watch as teenagers taunt and bully another boy; a character is arrested and placed under "prohibition" (a punishment that distorts a person's reality); a character is reported to have been separated from his sons; a character passes out; characters report their experiences under prohibition; a character threatens another; a character's projection is attacked and destroyed by another character's projection; a male character punches another boy; characters physically fight and threaten each other; a character has a repetitive projection depicting members of her family getting killed by her out-of-control projections; a character has a fear of falling to his death; a character is put on trial; characters watch a projection depicting a main character meeting a gory end; characters see a creepy singing tapestry woven from humanoid projections; characters plot to cheat during a test.

Sex/Nudity:  A male character spins a female character in his arms; there is mention of a social taboo against touching others; a female character accuses another female character of staring at a man like she wants to have his babies; a character recalls being abandoned by her husband; characters occasionally hold hands, both physically and with projections; a male character projects the sensation of a sloppy kiss onto a female character's cheek; a male character frequently dresses in girly clothing (no implication of gender exploration); male and female characters occasionally flirt; a character introduces someone as his girlfriend; characters joke about an old hag projecting beauty onto herself in order to lure and marry a much younger male mage.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Child abandonment, bullying, husband and wife separation, abandonment of family by fathers, social outcast.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters infrequently drink; characters are given medical drops that distort the reality of certain senses (seeing, touching, hearing, etc.); some characters chew on a certain root that helps enhance their projection abilities.

Reviewed By Katrina
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