The Half-Assed Wizard
by Gary Jonas
Recommended Ages: 14+
All that starts to change – well, no, it doesn't – when Brett intercepts a package from his Uncle Paul, addressed to his dad, and inadvertently tunes a tarot deck of eldritch power to himself. Now a bunch of magical bad guys who want the deck have to kill him in order to get the deck back. (I hate to mention it, but Uncle Paul kind of stole the cards.) With his son-of-a-witch dad (ha ha) testing him from one side and his dad's enemies closing in from the other, Brett's margin of survival narrows down to a vanishingly thin thread of loyalty from his cousin Sabrina (not a witch, a wizard), a sexy vampire bandmate named Michael (luckily, he can't drink wizard blood) and the fact that he, Brett, actually possesses enormous though undisciplined power.
This is a relatively short novel, fastpaced and direct, with a magically hilarious take on millennial slacker culture and a somewhat distinctive concept of how magic works. Brett's bad attitude about everything in general, and his father in particular, makes him sometimes hard to sympathize with, but since he's the narrator you kind of have to go along with it. Nevertheless, there are hints of a private pain that may explain, to a degree, how he got to be that way, and more than a hint that his adventures as a half-assed wizard are just beginning. The characters surrounding him make entertaining company, and the seawall neighborhood of Galveston reveals unexpected possibilities as a setting for weird and dangerous adventures. All in all, I thought it was the start of a series I'd be willing to continue with.
This is the first of four "Half-Assed Wizard" books, followed by The Big-Ass Witch, The Dumbass Demon and The Lame-Assed Doppelganger, about which I would like to observe (1) that I never imagined I would go to so much trouble verifying the difference between "ass" and "assed," and (2) although I scored this book for free on Kindle, it succeeded in scoring money from me to get the sequel. Gary Jonas is also the author of about 12 "Jonathan Shade" novels (Modern Sorcery etc.), six "Hitman" books (So You Wanna Be a Hitman etc.), five "Kelly Chan" books (Vampire Midnight, etc.), and about five other novels.