Title: Sands of Nezza
Author: M. L. Forman
Alex had no plans to go on another adventure, but when a message arrives from an old friend begging for his help, he doesn’t take long to decide. But this time, he’s not in the company of a band of adventurers. This time, he’s on his own. The land of Nezza is a mysterious place, one which doesn’t much like adventurers or wizards. The war-torn land has been without a king for a long time, but the missing Prince Rallian might be a force capable of uniting them—if the evil that lurks behind the scenes doesn’t strike first.
It’s hard to point to exactly why these books are so enjoyable, but I think it’s the way heroism is so straightforward. Adventurers Wanted features adventurers, honor, swords, magic, and dragons, and there is a refreshing simplicity to how it all comes together. There is more than one problem in Nezza, of course, but the bad guys are making things miserable, and Alex and a few friends are out to make everything right again.
This is more complex than the previous books in some ways. Alex is growing as a wizard, and he does a lot more thinking and planning (and quite a lot of worrying). It’s less about throwing power at things and more about strategies. And Alex has to hold himself back at several points because setting a king on a throne isn’t as easy as killing a dragon, and sometimes too much power is a bad thing.
If there’s one thing that did seem a bit of a let-down, it was that Magnus was constantly reaffirmed to be a schemer, both powerful and clever, and he didn’t get the opportunity to really live up to his reputation. The suggestion spells were a nice touch, but that was more Alex tripping passive defenses than Magnus going out of his way to take Alex down.
The story is mostly complete in itself, though the end offers a tease for the next probable adventure. The series is gradually pulling back to take a wider view of its world, and it will be interesting to see how Alex ends up in the middle of all the trouble sure to come. I rate this book Recommended.