A clueless university student turns out to be more than he seems in this magical tale of witches and wizards.
Fowler’s memory-challenged title character lives alone in London with his cat, doesn’t appear to have any friends and is struggling to complete a dull internship at a marketing firm. One day, Ezra witnesses a woman clad entirely in blue battle to the death with a woman dressed identically in red. This sets in motion a series of events that puts him on the run from trench coat-wearing inspectors, giant spiders and half-man, half-reptile bogkereses—not to mention the infamous dark wizard Malleus. Luckily for Ezra, he is assisted by Lauren, his wife of 50 years whom he can’t remember; Bronx, an enormous satyr skilled in the ways of hand-to-hand combat; and Billie, the best taxi driver around. He also gets help from his old journal, which starts out blank but slowly fills up with clues. Unfortunately, the myriad mysterious plot points (such as how a university student could be unknowingly married for 50 years) frustratingly drag on and blend together in Fowler’s debut. Just like Harry Potter, everyone seems to know Ezra but he doesn’t recognize anyone. Unlike Rowling’s Harry Potter series, however, Ezra’s world is not fully fleshed out. For example, there is no sense of how magical people relate to non-magical people, and there is no coherent theory of how magic works; as a result, witches and wizards appear capable of doing just about anything. Fowler writes with a zany sense of humor but there are also plenty of awkward passages, such as: “Although most faces he met smiled, some were devilish and others as if struck with divine aptitude.” In the end, only a bit of Ezra’s enigmatic past is revealed, while the rest is carried over for a planned sequel.
Potter fans desperate to satisfy their wizard fix may be able to do so here.