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Publisher's Summary

Magic Teacher's Son is a story of betrayal, forgiveness, trust, and treason in a magical world at war. While armies clash in distant battles pitting Magicians against Sorcerers, the actions of an ordinary boy, his classmates, and his friends threaten the loss of their kingdom, but are also its only true hope for survival. 

When 16-year-old Pran sneaks out of his house one night to join other teens experimenting with sorcery, it sets into motion a chain of events that lead to betrayal, an attempt on his life, first love, friendship with a most unusual spy, treason, and the imminent conquest of his kingdom. 

His father, schoolmaster of the town's one-room magic school, learns of the midnight dabbling in sorcery, expels one student, and gives Pran an even worse punishment: implying to the class that he's the snitch! Before Pran can convince his classmates he's not, a prophecy warns that the gold Eldor's Magicians need to repel the current invasion will vanish from their world, and the kingdom is doomed unless Pran travels to the "legendary" land of Earth to replace it. 

To find three companions he needs for his quest, Pran must put loyalty ahead of personal safety, stand up to vengeful classmates who think he snitched on them, forgive a former friend who betrayed him, and face his worst fears. But can Pran trust the remarkable companions the prophecy picked for him?

©2014 David Harten Watson (P)2018 David Harten Watson

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Great YA Fantasy Fiction

I was a bit on the fence on this title at first. As an adult, I find it a bit hard to get into Young Adult (YA) fiction. However, the world-building here is top-notch. The system of magic (SPOILER) of gold being consumed for white magic and bone for black magic forms the core of an industrializing world where magic instead of technology drove civilizational evolution (END SPOILER). It's the sort of simple yet original idea that evokes envy from other fantasy writers, no doubt. The fusing of science fiction elements and parallel worlds is fluid enough that readers won't get lost, and provides the set-up for what will no doubt be an epic trilogy. Yet, even with the novel's attempts at epic-ness, there is still a sense of fun underlying it all, which is rare on modern fantasy. It's nice to see a wizard throwing around fireballs who's actually enjoying themselves, as opposed to brooding on a tower or something.

The characters took a while for me to warm to as well, but it was largely a case of stepping back and trying to imagine myself as a teenager reading this. The main character (Pran) became far more likable, and his concerns and struggles relatable. I also thought the character of Jelall was interesting, and had far more depth than any of the other characters. Of course, the eponymous magic teacher also fascinated me, as he seems to ride the line between strict and supportive, capable and vulnerable.

My only criticism is that i wish there'd been more room for female characters. There is a plot reason for this (SPOILER) within the world, women cannot cast magic (END SPOILER). But to me, this gave the story a "boy's club, no girl's aloud" sort of vibe. The later inclusion of a female character who can do magic in the love interest role, i feel, is not explored enough (perhaps in the sequels?) and she feels more like a convention rather than a character. Pran's attraction to her also seemed a bit off, fixated on her skin color. Admittedly, this is far more similar to how 13-year old boys think than men do, but i feel more could've been done to round out Pran's affection and the female cast.

Overall, I enjoyed my time listening to Magic Teacher's Son. It was certainly out of my zone of normal listens and literature, but it was still a fun journey! If you have kids looking for a book to read (or listen to) over the long summer months, or want something fun and quick for a day at the beach, I'd recommend this!