Mills K.E., Accidental Sorcerer, Orbit, 2008
The Accidental Sorcerer is the first book of the Rogue Agent series by K.E.Mills alias Karen Miller. A tale of magic, as the title suggests, but it is largely the magic of the characters themselves that is the strength of this book and the author. If you have read Karen Miller‘s The Innocent Mage and you remember Asher and his progressive transformation from a fisherman to a skilled but very likable statesman, you’ll know what I mean. The main characters in the Accidental Sorcerer: Gerald, an inept third-rate magician who seeds catastrophe wherever he treads: Reg, a bewitched bird whose tongue lashes out with hilarious repartee; Melissande, a princess disguised as an industrious frump in charge of the country’s daily affairs; not to mention Rupert, her butterfly-loving younger brother, … they are all both hilarious and endearing. Perhaps the least convincing is the villain king. It’s sometimes hard to believe in the atrocities he instigates, maybe because the author shields us from their full force.
The decor of this book is not urban but it has that density and the hedged-in nature that are often the hallmarks of urban fantasy. None of your airy-fairy lightness to the Accidental Sorcerer. Yet it does have a lightness to it that is born of the dialogues, especially those that involve Reg who tells-it-like-it-is but often in most amusing ways. I’m looking forward to reading the next of the series: Witches Incorporated.