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Fixer by James Jakins – SPFBO Review

Fixer by James Jakins – SPFBO Review
3.5
Book Name: Fixer
Author: James Jakins
Publisher(s): Robber's Dog Pub
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Release Date: February 17, 2017

Jack Bloodfist fixes things. That’s what his card says, anyway.

When the orcs and goblins of Summervale, Virginia need something done they call Jack.

He’s the one who convinces the local PD to ignore any tribal violence. The guy who makes sure the goblins aren’t evicted whenever they do something decidedly goblin.

He also does the little things that no one else is willing to do. Like handing keys over whenever a prodigal son returns, or identifying the body of said prodigal.

Then there’s the occasional murderous paladin and his vengeful god to deal with.

All in a day’s work.

Urban fantasy done well is a glorious thing to behold. The mix of magic and the mundane can be a real joy to read. It makes imagining the setting easy, but they twist the world around you, make you puzzle and wonder. Hrm… I now wonder whether Harry Potter is urban fantasy?

In this fast paced and fun urban fantasy tale, our main character is a Half-Orc. Orcs…didn’t last year’s winner also involve orcs? Oh and he is also half-goblin because…well…you know. And the Fantasy-Faction winner this year, for round one, had a half-dwarf in it. Does it seem to you that we are branching out with the species of our main characters?

The judge who read this book is all for branching out and non-human characters. However, they also commented that here, our Half Orc/Goblin could have easily been an angry green skinned human – but that may be trademarked. An even more “alien” viewpoint, morals, ethics, cares and worries would have made the book a bit more unique and interesting.

As the protagonist goes about his business of “fixing things,” he meets a variety of characters. Not all of them are as fleshed out as they could be, but they held our interest and the main character is likeable enough to enjoy following him around.

More should be said about his job really. I mean, he is not into DIY or general house maintenance. Think bouncer, Oddjob, or any of those characters whose real role is to be an enforcer. You can fluff it up with post titles if you want to, Orc/Human Relationships Officer, but it amounts to the same thing. They work between the laws; smoothing things over with human police and tackling all sorts of problems while wearing a cheap suit.

Jack, for he is our Orc/Goblin hero, must keep his family and friends safe and this drives him onward throughout the whole story. Not all good guys are safe in this book, so there is a real thrill in scenes when characters are in danger. People die, sometimes in quite gory ways.

There were some aspects of the book which mean it didn’t quite make it to be our highest rated. Firstly, our judge felt the magic was a little overpowered and the worldbuilding had too many different ideas crammed into a short book. It dwells on the nature of gods and flaws, science and magic, different worlds, species and magics and it works hard to resolve some of these by the ending. Spacing that many ideas, revelations and concepts out, or even leaving some for a sequel, might have helped with these slight issues.

Our judge commented that the “prose was light but fluent and easy to follow without throwing you out of the story.”

All in all, a really entertaining and easy to read book. Perfect for a light break between the big complex stories and definitely for fans of Harry Dresden, Iron Druid or Hellequin Chronicles.

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