Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Shadow Mountain to review.
Genre: Middle Grade/Teen Fiction
Book Description: Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he'll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says "Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL." Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn't actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth--aka Rin--he's even more skeptical.
Sure, Rin dresses like a wizard, but the short robe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox, as does Rin's habit of writing notes on his shoes and eating breakfast for every meal. Plus, Rin doesn't even cast any magic spells, which means that the unexplained coincidences that start happening around Ozzy are just that--coincidences.
With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy's father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.
My thoughts: This book is a hard one for me to rate and review. I am obviously not the age of the readers this book was written for. This book is written for a middle grade reader, but I think it would be better for an advanced middle grade reader and above.
I was impressed with the humor in this book. It is full of little quips that brought a smile to my face. There are other parts that are a hard to read about. As a seven year old, Ozzy was abandoned in the forest when his parents were forcefully taken away from him. He was a smart boy and survived on the stock-pile of food his parents left in their home. I am grateful that seven years are basically glossed over, because I would hate to read about a child surviving on his own without guidance.
The book picks up when Ozzy is 14 and learning to explore the world around him. He has his trusty mechanical bird, Clark, to keep him company. Clark is pretty amazing and will capture the attention and imagination of children. He is sarcastic and funny, plus he is a cognizant machine. He's pretty cool.
Ozzy hires a wizard to help him find his parents. Labyrinth, or Rin, is a dilemma. Is he a wizard? Or is he a grown man playing out some fantasy from his youth? He is hard to decipher. But, he comes through for Ozzy and is the only adult helping out a young man in need. There were times I wondered if he was only doing it to get a free meal? Fortunately, Ozzy found money that his parents left that paid for essentials, and the services of a wizard.
I felt as if at times the story lagged. It all was important to the story, so I don't know what could have been done differently. I did enjoy the dialogue and the characters.
I would caution parents in letting their parents read this book. It takes a little maturity, it is about a boy living without parents and contains some violence.
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About the Author: (Taken from Amazon) Obert Skye was born on a stormy night in the back of a fast-moving taxi. Obert spends his time telling all who will listen about the existence of Foo and the importance of dreams. Obert is a fairly ordinary fellow who says he is simply hoping to repair what he has mistakenly undone. You can visit him online at www.leventhumps.com.