In this unusual fantasy offering, Magus Tor spins his magic by taking the fantasy genre a new and pertinent step further with this transgender-charged quest adventure. When Dr. James. a male medical professional gets a huge migraine-like headache he starts hallucinating Lord Of The Rings-style rooms in which he seems to be the protagonist – in the form of Princess Sarabeth, a teenage royal charged with the defense of her nation, but currently suffering amnesia and unable to remember her purpose – against a ticking clock of betrayal by a secret society known as the D-Nine, working underground against The Crown. What will Dr.James decide when faced with decisions literally in another world?
It leaves the reader in strange place with the two main characters being one, and yet, not one. This means it’s slightly difficult to develop a rapport with them. However this is the point of the story. As Dr.James explores his new body and the option to actually stay in his new gender permanently, he is also faced with a lot of difficult questions, answers, and soul searching. It’s plain to see that changing gender in any world is a stressful path filled with many obstacles. Maybe the frustration the reader feels knowing Dr.James is a male and female literally trapped in one body is an interesting concept to be explored here, and one that has not been done like this before to my knowledge, using the classic Choose Your Own Adventure quest book ending for readers to decide what Dr.James will do as Sarabeth or Dr.James: choose which page to skip to and read that epilogue to finish your read.
Also, the depth of the world the doctor has stumbled into like an episode of Quantum Leap is intricate and fun, and mixes Chinese magical concepts into the adventure seamlessly and originally. These parts of the book are most interesting and will thrill fantasy fans with the original mythology, which in places gets early Game of Thrones-y and is sure to please.
The book has a strong cover illustration by Steven Lie and an amusing idea behind its conception, and does drum up a strangely alluring world in places where Oz-style, reality crosses into James’ dream world. The author mixes some Chinese art and mythology into the pages as well as the story, and the interior design is clean and stylish. However, it will be the wonderfully original style of ending that will coax readers in to Tor’s world.
Magus Tor has been growing as an author in the last while, and this book is the best offering yet in all aspects of creating a book worth picking up, and shows the spectrum of imagination that he is honing from thought to written word is starting to take flight by tackling new horizons in the form of gender issues in a magical setting, enticing readers in to explore the concepts while being thoroughly entertained.