Title: The Applicant
Author: Michael W. Layne
Series: Conservation of Magic #0.5 (Prequel)
Chris is fresh out of college and hoping for a job at the prestigious—and mysterious—Rune Corporation. He’s one of three candidates for a single position, but he’s confident he can make the right impression. Unfortunately, the application starts going weird quickly . . .
This is a bit rough, but the overall world is interesting. Given that this is basically a novella about a single day’s experience, it makes sense that the applicants themselves don’t have a whole lot of background, apart from Chris, but it does mean it was harder to get a feel for their characters. However, with most of the focus remaining on Chris and the woman interviewing them all, this still worked okay.
It does do the job of getting me at least somewhat interested in the larger world. I had a lot of questions about how exactly humans were supposed to help with the language process (although the job in question being for an interface designer does make that particular part easier to understand). The mystery portion is weaker because there isn’t a lot of opportunity to set up who might be the culprit before everything comes out.
Overall, since this was a free read, I think it’s worth checking out. It’s an easy way to see if the magic or the characters grabs you. The preview for the next book at the back does imply the actual series doesn’t follow Chris, though, for what that’s worth. I rate this book Recommended.