Magician's Merger by Xenophon Hendrix

Author's Description:
Eleven-year-old Arthur wakes up to find an ancient wizard sharing his brain.
Size: 599 KB ( ~ 113,588 words)
Genre: Fantasy
Sex Contents: Minimal Sex
Tags: Fiction

Review by Peter_H   [other reviews by Peter_H]

Reviewed: 2017-01-14


This story is straight Urban Fantasy. It is, also, most excellent Fantasy, at least in my opinion. It is the only story present on this site by Xenophon Hendrix, and that is a great shame.
Synopsis: Arthur, a little boy of 11 gets a bad case of the chicken pox. Next thing we (and he) know, he wakes up in a hospital bed, his arms strapped down, an IV stuck in his arm.
Apparently he's been asleep for a full week. A procession of family and medical staff comes in once he's regained consciousness. And now something odd happens, there is a strange voice in his head.

Things go on, the boy is released home. The voice explains itself, its a refugee, a wizard from a parallel world (at least that's my take on it, although the wizard calls them 'nodes') who got a bit careless and got blasted by some unknown adversary. And so, in his incorporeal form, he made it across and, he explains, by messing around with Arthur's parents' DNA, creates a new body for himself, but this has gone slightly awry because the body is now actually inhabited by Arthur. One grapples, the other grapples, some co-existence is established and as the narrative goes on the odd union of boy and ancient seems to congeal into a third consciousness in the body, making an oddball triumvirate.

The wizard attempts to explore magic in his new world, the little boy learns some discipline about homework ... his schoolwork picks up, he garners some enemies, as well as a girlfriend (don't get any funny ideas, these are 11 year olds!) and begins to learn music and draws several other kids into picking up instruments.

At the same time, the wizard proceeds teaching magic.

In the course of this, they uncover something very dangerous and evil.

Xenophon Hendrix leaves us at the moment in time where the three have overcome, Arthur has come home from his travails in the snow, collapses on the couch in the basement and cries himself to sleep.

This is a coming of age story in the best way of the genre. It is a nice fantasy story (hey there's even a brief appearance of a dragon), what it is not is a Mary-Sue outcast misfit to superhero story and that lifts it way above many similar for technical accomplishment, in my opinion. The characters keep their feet planted firmly on the planet, and do not break the suspension of disbelief. And the world building is great. It's Not Quite Our World, but so close, it almost makes no never mind.

Also, the author has an excellent vocabulary, and grasp of grammar and spelling. Makes it a sublime pleasure to read.

There is one gripe I have ... inasmuch as you can call it a gripe: there is no real closure to this story. We don't find out where any of the cast go, what happens to their lives past this one battle that Arthur fights on his own (that is, with the help of his mental cohabitants). I am left wondering what happened to author Xenophon Hendrix that he never published another story, did not (I garnered this from the other review written years ago) put forth a sequel. What a shame. This story is worthy of continuation.

Plot: 9 | Technical Quality: 10 | Appeal to Reviewer: 10

Review by Ivan_Ronical   [other reviews by Ivan_Ronical]

Reviewed: 2012-04-10


I'm shocked that there isn't a review for this story yet, and I mean that in the nicest of ways.

I decided to write one more review for the day, and, fortuitously, it happens to be this story. And what a story it is. "Magician's Merger" is the story of a boy who inherits the spirit and powers of a wizard who was assassinated many years prior. He must come to terms with having an alien presence in his mind, and powers that the public only knows about from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

To start, this is absolutely a memorable story. Despite having a dead wizard in his head, Arthur is an outgoing and likeable kid, and we get to see his constant dialogue with the wizard, who also seems like a pretty cool guy. A good start, right?

Now imagine that this story starts when the main character is very young (before high school), and it's focused primarily on how having an incredibly old and wise wizard in the kid's head would affect his development. And no, I'm not talking about a wizard written by Lubrican who helps the boy score with and impregnate all the females within driving distance (though that would be super funny to read, take a note!). This is a wizard more like Gandalf: he's seen some shit, been around the block a few times (I think it said at one point that he was close to 1000 years old), and done pretty much everything at least once. He gives sound advice to a growing boy who is very much like him, and it makes for an extremely fascinating read - one of the best on SOL.

There's no stroke value here at all. What little sex is included is not meant to be stroke-worthy, and it isn't. The story is fine as it is.

A well-written story is one where you don't realize you're reading words. This is such a story. 10/10 for writing quality.

Overall, I've read few stories which are as genuinely interesting as this one. Of those, this is the only one I know of where the author overtly has not created a plot or storyline ahead of time; his characters and their descriptions are good enough to steer things on their own.

Bravo, well done, and I hope at some point you recover enough to finish the sequel on your blog.

Plot: 10 | Technical Quality: 10 | Appeal to Reviewer: 10