Book Review : Blunt Force Magic

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review : Blunt Force MagicBlunt Force Magic (The Monsters and Men Trilogy, #1) by Lawrence Davis
Published by WildBlue Press on January 10th 2018
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Source: NetGalley

"A modern fantasy with a touch of noir, a dash of detective thriller, and a sprinkling of humor throughout. A really fun debut novel."

Janzen Robinson is a man lost between two worlds. Five years removed from a life as an apprentice to a group of do-gooding heroes who championed the fight against supernatural evils, the once-promising student is now a package courier going through the daily grind, passing time at a hole-in-the-wall bar and living in a tiny, run-down apartment on the south side of Cleveland, Ohio.

Then fate (or a case of bad timing) brings him face to face with a door that’s got his old life written all over it. From the ancient recesses of unyielding darkness known as the Abyss, a creature has been summoned: a Stalker, a predator whose real name is forbidden to be spoken aloud. It’s a bastardization of the natural order, a formidable blend of dark magic and primal tenacity. Its single-minded mission? Ending the life of a fiery, emerging young witch.

Thrust into the role of protector, a role once reserved for those he’d lost years ago, the out-of-practice Artificer not only has to return to a life he’d left behind, but must relive that painful past while also facing down the greatest threat to come to our world in a century. Janzen will have to journey through the magical underbelly of the city and stay one step ahead of an unstoppable monster hellbent on destruction while also trying to figure out why it’s been brought to our world. Old wounds are reopened as Janzen looks to old friends, a quiet stranger, and his own questionable wits to see them all to the other side of this nightmare that may cost him his life and, quite possibly, the world itself.

Blunt Force Magic just really did not work for me. This book reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, so if you are a fan of that series, you may like this book. Personally, I felt stifled and exasperated by the main character’s endless diatribes of insecurity to the point where I could not feel anything for the other characters and was annoyed by the constant fight scenes.


I did not feel attached to any of the characters at all. In fact, I really did not care if anything horrible happened to main character, Janzen and would have welcomed a reprieve from his self-deprecating sense of humor, something that was entertaining in the beginning and then got ridiculously and mind-numbingly old before the halfway mark in the book. At first, I found his admitting to all of his insecurities realistic and somewhat charming, but I soon felt like I was listening to the thoughts of a grown-up baby. It is clear the author has wit, and a lot of Janzen’s humor hits with a zing, but a lot of the time, that same humor felt like a shot in the dark rather than an actual successful joke. Regardless of whether these endless monologues of poor stand-up comedy hit or miss, I felt like my brain was being overloaded by Janzen’s chatter and I just wished he would shut up, something that was sadly impossible as he was the first person narrator of the book.


What’s more, was that between all of the wisecracks about his weight or his poor looks, we find out that Janzen is actually a super capable guy whom the underworld or whatever has been waiting to rise up and take the mantle of his former master and kick some serious abyss ass. This might have been cool if I weren’t so immune to the trope of a hero who feels he has failed, gone into hiding, and then comes back and saves the day. Plus, Janzen’s utterances of “this is my city” during fight scenes made me roll my eyes. Apparently, he’s Batman.


Sadly, I did not much like the other characters either. I did not care when characters who should not have been helping showed up to save the day or for a beyond the grave visit. Later, when one character died, my reaction was complete indifference. I did like Grove, a deaf character with military experience, but this may just have been because he did not ruin it by talking much. I couldn’t help but wonder if they included such a reticent character specifically in order to offset Janzen’s continuous stream of consciousness.


I ended up skimming the final battle and most of the fight scenes before it. They were countless. I felt like I was reading a shonen manga where half the book was a fight scene and the only dialogue was a single “POW,” scrawled across the center of the page.  Maybe if I were a younger boy, I would find all of these scenes riveting and whatnot, but I was super bored of them. What appeared to be a cool monster, pictured on the awesome cover of the book, was ruined by the fight scenes and by its sudden ability to talk, which immediately rendered it less mysterious and dangerous.


The one thing I did really think was interesting in this book was the magic system. I was interested in the artificery and wished that the book had focused more on that than the current endless fiasco with the wolf-bird-demon thing chasing them. I think the future novels will cover more of Janzen’s training as an artificer and maybe a future tinkerer, which might be interesting, but I don’t plan on reading the next novels in the series. Between the fighting and the awful, incessant narration, I was super relieved when the book was over.


Book Review - Blogging with Dragons - Blunt Force Magic

Posted June 6, 2018 in Book Reviews, Fantasy


2 responses to “Book Review : Blunt Force Magic

  1. Anonymous

    … I have never felt so bad for writing a book! Seriously I am sorry it didn’t resonate with you, but thank you sincerely for taking the time.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way, that was not my intention in writing the review. While the book wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure there will be other people who love it. Best of luck on future writing endeavors!

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