Wednesday 29 April 2020

Book Review: The Magician's Workshop Volume One by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

Last Updated: 16 October 2021

The Magician's Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr book cover

AD* | Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is awarded the title of magician and given fame, power, riches, and glory. Journey with a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

Before I get into my review - full confession time - this book has been on my tbr list for a very long time. I intended to read it back in 2017, but it obviously got lost somewhere along the way and it's not until recently that I rediscovered it and finally started to read the story.

The Magician's Workshop is the first volume of a two-part Young Adult fantasy story. It's brimming with interesting characters, a fascinating world, and an intriguing storyline which is only just getting started at the end of this volume.

Although they can appear quite childish at times (and perhaps younger than their ages), the characters in the story are engaging and each has his or her own unique backstory. While exploring the main characters' backstories does take most of the first volume, it's still fascinating to read about as we get to know more about their relationships and the world they inhabit along the way. I did find some of the dialogue to be a little childish, too, but I wonder if this is part of bigger character traits that will be explored in volume two.

The world of O'Ceea is captivating and the entire premise of the story is highly unique. This instantly drew me in and kept my attention right to the end of the volume, which - be warned - does end on a bit of a cliffhanger.

My biggest gripe with this story - and the main reason why I couldn't give it a full five-star rating - is that this volume is almost entirely comprised of set-up. It's a great introduction to the world and the characters, but in terms of an actual plotline, this book is seriously lacking. Literally, nothing happens. I get that it's meant to be read in conjunction with the second volume (where I imagine, the plot takes over) but in my mind, the two volumes are merely halves of one story rather than two separate books. As a reader, it leaves you feeling cheated and detracts from the world-building mastery that you have just finished reading, which is a real shame.

If it's an absorbing, unique fantasy world you're looking for, then The Magician's Workshop is the perfect story for you. Just be prepared to need to read two books instead of one!

Rating: 4 stars

The Magician's Workshop is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the series? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Thanks for the review! I'm glad to hear that you had a chance to read the novel. I hope you get to read Volume Two, as well, which is definitely where the plot takes more shape. Stay safe and have a great weekend!

    -- J.R. Fehr