J. A. Keener

Book Review: Of Gallantry and Magic

A friend of mine just published their first book! First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: it’s good. Got it? Great!

Of Gallantry and Magic
Written by Alex Hintermann and self-published through Amazon, Of Gallantry and Magic is the tale of Sir Tristan, son of Derrick Dragonbane, and his first job interview. Sir Tristan has large shoes to fill, as his father is renowned throughout the world for slaying one of the living weapons during a previous war. People expect great things from Tristan (especially himself), and yet, he is having trouble finding a job. You see, the world is at peace, but he is expected to become a Knight and follow in his father’s footsteps. Even Sir Tristan expects himself to do that. It becomes clear very quickly that Sir Tristan is more concerned with perception than reality and often makes a fool of himself while trying to impress those he would seek to serve. Along the way, he meets a disgraced elementalist and becomes quickly infatuated, and through that relationship, is forced to see himself for who he really is.

The book is well structured, which results in a well-paced and quickly-moving story. Sir Tristan is an active agent in his own life, has goals he wishes to attain, and spends no time navel-gazing about how he wants to accomplish them. At the same time, as he slowly realizes just how oafish he is being to those around him, he has several genuine moments of introspection and personal growth. I can promise readers who start the book and think, “this guy isn’t likeable;” he will be by the end of the book.

One thing that did not bother me, but may turn others off (heh), is that this is a mature book. And I do mean mature. There is a fairly graphic sex scene that between the two main characters and while I found it tasteful and steamy, others may find it flagrantly unnecessary depending on their personal tastes. I’ll be honest, it isn’t necessary. It is well written and entertaining. This is the only reason I would not recommend this book to everyone, so if such things don’t bother you (or if you go out of your way to find them), consider yourself informed. I do feel it is fair to point out there were a handful of grammatical errors I saw in the e-pub I received, but I had no trouble trying to understand what was going on. These were small distractions that vanished as soon as I was past them.

The writing is reminiscent of several different styles. Alex’s humor is often dry and self-deprecating, but carries the weight of introspection and understanding. It is very clear to the reader that Sir Tristan is the one who feels what he feels and says what he says, and you never once believe you are hearing the author’s voice. I have read a number of short stories by Alex in the past, and I can say that this is their gift in writing: to let their characters and stories speak for themselves without fear of their own voice overpowering them. This style tends towards high-fantasy, but they subvert that in Of Gallantry and Magic by having the other characters comment on how Sir Tristan talks like he is “out of the old legends.” Plus, I have it on good authority that this is the first book in a series and I can’t wait to read more of them!

There is so much good to say about Of Gallantry and Magic, and I bet Alex would love to discuss it with you as well. You can find them on Twitter @AlexHintermann, on Facebook, or purchase Of Gallantry and Magic from Amazon for $2.99. The quality of the story is well worth that price, in my opinion, but in the interest of full discloser, my copy was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

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