Friday, September 9, 2016

Junk Mage

Elliot Cooper
NineStar Press
Reviewed by Nancy
4 out of 5 stars


When technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.

Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.

Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.

My Review

I will start out by saying that I love short stories. Whereas a novel can take its time fleshing out characters and developing a compelling plot, a short story leaves the writer with little wiggle room for going off on tangents. A good short story should feel complete, and not like an outline of a novel.

The author did a superb job setting up the world and creating an interesting cast of characters. I liked that it was told from the quirky technomancer Quill’s perspective. He is funny, thoughtful, and easygoing and I was comfortable spending time in his head. Hunter, the cyborg guarding the parts that Quill needs to repair his broken ship, was a bit more introverted. It was fun watching Quill’s and Hunter’s friendship develop into something deeper.

Even though Quill’s attitude kept me smiling much of the time, there was a touch of sadness involving Hunter’s past that I would have loved to see explored further.

This was a well-written, cleanly edited, and fast-paced story. Its format was too short to adequately contain everything explored here, so it felt slight at times.

While this was not the perfect short story, it was still a heck of a lot of fun.

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