Review: “The Magician” (A Fool’s Journey #1) by Mark Pannebecker

The MagicianDisclaimer: I received an electronic version of this short story in exchange for an honest review.

It’s hard to get invested in a story that opens with too many characters who are hard to differentiate and even harder to identify with. Though the basic world-building is accomplished with well-written descriptions, no major conflict is introduced to get me hooked.

Even more problematic than the multitude of characters is the presentation of the female characters, who are defined almost solely by their sexualized attributes and appear to only exist as sex objects for the male characters. The time period of the story does not excuse this treatment, nor the overall lack of diversity.

Though I was looking forward to seeing how the story embodied the major arcana of the tarot deck, the plot seemed to revolve more around glorifying drug use and dull teenage rebellion.

Multiple point of view errors severely decreased the readability of this story, which therefore never grabbed me. The treatment of women turned me off completely, and I will not be interested in continuing with this series.

Rating: 1 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: Short Fuse by Brent D. Seth

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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  1. Good to know. I too dislike stories that make women one dimensional and are there for one purpose. Let’s move on guys.

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