*****Magical Debut – Simplistically Complex                     Review by Rox Burkey

Author David F Balog creates a world of magic and a memorable character learning his craft, Mithron. Written in the first person from the eyes of the youth who wants to become a magical marvel.

The character development of the protagonist makes him relatable. The path he takes to learn his craft is fraught with challenges to his survival and hopes for success.

Balog distinguishes the necromancy path of Mithron by showing the flip side of cruel and evil beings often portrayed in fantasy stories.  Mithron has clearly identified his philosophy on his role as a vitae necromancer.

The realism in the situation and dialogue of the characters occurs early in the story. It continues to be a compelling read to the delightful end.

“Yoffa, we have an extra guest,” announced Vletraka softly as she entered the cabin with me in tow.

“Oh? Who… child, why aren’t you at home?” she asked with concern.

I was about to break down again—could feel it. I took a deep breath to steady myself before answering, “I have no home. It appears that I am no longer… my father’s… son.” I had barely choked out the last when tears began to run hotly down my cheeks once again.

 Yoffa frowned and looked at Vletraka.

“His father was rather upset at Mithron’s choice of profession, and none too pleased at his son’s teacher either. He turned his back on him and cast him out of the family.”

“‘ Tis true he has all the charm and grace of a fresh pile of lamb’s droppings,” sighed Yoffa, which caused me to sputter with laughter, “but I never thought he would react like that. Most families would be honored to count a wizard among them.”

Clearly influenced by the author’s enjoyment of Dungeon and Dragons, the world-building and storytelling is delightful unique in several aspects that you will enjoy exploring. The additional students, including Glitter, are characters who complement Mithron’s learnings. In some respects, this story has a coming-of-age perspective that is delightful as Mithron tests his magical abilities.

If you enjoy fantasy and gothic fiction, this debut in the series is perfect. It is well-written, filled with engaging characters, and provides the learning aspects of magic as a foundation explored by few authors. This is the first in a planned trilogy that makes David Balog worth following to see where he takes his new world.

About the Author

David F. Balog was born, raised, and still lives in the Greater Cleveland are with his wife and cat. He grew up in the libraries of Lakewood and Parma, and his babysitters were the creatures of the Cleveland Aquarium; he had a special fondness for the giant octopus. Ever inquisitive, he dove deeply into science, paranormal studies, mathematics, and mythology at an early age, and never let go of the idea that they, and other studies, were all tightly connected.

His fascination with fables and mythology led him first to Dungeons & Dragons, then other role-playing games. Here, he learned to hone his talent for character creation, world building, and storytelling, more so as individual games extended into long campaigns. Over time, basic concepts became fully realized, and months and years spent focused on a single character gave time for them to develop depth.

An avid reader, particularly, but certainly not limited to, science and science fiction, David always sought to learn more about the world. In his youth, he went to the Gifted Challenge Institute, essentially a summer camp for knowledge set on campus at local colleges, where he studied mathematics, biology, and physics far above his grade level. This had the unfortunate side-effect of putting him off traditional academia for a time, as regular classes were not available at his age to continue with his accelerated learning, causing his grades to slide from boredom.

Years later, he would attend Cuyahoga Community College, Ursuline College, and Cleveland State University, eventually earning a Bachelors’ Degree in both History and Social Studies and a Master’s Degree in History. All through his studies, he continued to focus on theology, mythology, and fables and how they connected societies throughout time and regions. Though the stories and characters change, the underlying truths always remain the same: primarily, the constant striving of individuals to become better people. At long last, it fell on David to contribute his own stories and mythologies to the public consciousness. With the experience of developing characters and worlds combined with writing numerous research papers, David began work on his first novel: Necromancer’s Lament, the first in a planned trilogy.

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