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A Plague of Sorcerers: A Magical Mystery (Hyperion Paperback) Paperback – 1 Apr 1996
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In a country of wizards ruled by a council of wizards, a boy Jermyn wants to become one more than anything else. An orphan living with his Aunt Merry, he struggles to perform magic and can't even attract a familiar. When a feud between his aunt and the snobby weather-wizard Fulke ends in a vicious curse, Jermyn sends Fulke back to his home, and by doing so attracts an animal. Except it isn't the cat that was expected, but a skunk. Jermyn reluctantly accepts the skunk Delia as his familiar.
But the curse from Fulke has rendered Aunt Merry unable to do magic. She sends Jermyn to be apprenticed to the Theoretician Eschar, and for a while things seem to be working out fine. But then wizards begin to fall into strange magical comas, hideous weather threatens to destroy the city, and a malevolent Marquis from an anti-wizardry land seems to be connected to it all. Jermyn and Delia must uncover the truth about the magical plague before it's too late.
Jermyn is the classic "bright kid who just doesn't work well under normal circumstances." He has a lot of power, but it works under peculiar circumstances, usually under stress. Aunt Merry, Fulke, Eschar, and Eschar's pretty ward Meggan are a little less developed, but they are easily recognizable with individual personalities. Unusually endearing is Delia, with her baby-talk thoughts and willingness to spray anyone that she sees as being a threat to "Je'm'n."
The only problem, perhaps, is the pacing. Zambreno keeps pretty much the same pace throughout the book, regardless of the situation. She also needs to work a little on atmosphere. The descriptions are pretty average, while the humorous situations and dialogue are excellent. And, of course, her idea about a country that wizards emigrated to from a repressive homeland is brilliant. The mystery is twisted and well-written, with hints sprinkled through the book as to who the guilty party is, but readers probably won't guess who it is until the climax.
A nice, suspenseful story for fans of wizards and mystery. Now, if only they'd bring "Journeyman Wizard" back into print...
Jermyn Graves is young man facing decisions about his career as a wizard - and since he has not yet called a familiar, it doesn't look too good. His aunt, who has raised him, believes strongly in his talent and schemes to help Jermyn release his power and find a familiar. But when it happens, she isn't pleased; who ever heard of a skunk for a familiar? The story that ensues is filled with excitement and mystery (including spells gone wrong, magical curses, and a strange plague that threatens to consume their entire city.)
I think this is a well-crafted, page-turning story with very vivid characters and a highly imaginative world. This story, to me, is the original Harry Potter. A great read for anyone.
I liked this book allot and I can't see why it got such low ratings. The plot makes sense, it has humor and good characters. Advice for 9-12 year olds who like fantasy: Read it.
A good and interesting book, though the mystery is hard to figure out it hasn't got an unreasonable conclusion. It has a good plot and is in parts humorus.