The Stranger’s Magic
The Labyrinths of Echo – Book Three
By Max Frei
The Overlook Press
Release date: July 19, 2012
The Stranger’s Magic is the third book in Max Frei’s Labyrinths of Echo series. Continuing the story of Sir Max, an assimilated stranger in a strange magic land, The Stranger’s Magic has Sir Max becoming Lord Fanghaxra, King of Xenxa, husband to three weird sisters and facing almost certain death at the hands of one of his best friends, the Death Dealing Glove-wearing Sir Lonli-Lokli, all while solving the ordinary crimes of this extraordinary land of Echo.
Max uses all of his previously establish magical powers and discovers he’s got a few new tricks up the sleeves of the black and gold Mantle of Death uniform he wears as Nocturnal Representative of the Most Venerable Head of the Minor Secret Investigative Force of the City of Echo. While all the characters were distinct and their dialogue mildly humorous, I didn’t feel especially moved by any one of them, including the book’s star and narrator, Sir Max.
Perhaps some of the excitement I was hoping to feel when sitting down to a story involving magic powers and mystical places was lost in the translation of The Stranger’s Magic from its original Russian. If anything, this disappoints me even more, as I’ve read a number of Russian authors before and have come to expect a certain poetical spin on even the most mundane passages. I didn’t find that here. It was merely an okay book. I’m afraid I can’t muster any stronger a word than that.
Max Frei is the penname of Russian author Svetlana Martynchik, whose fantasy novels have earned worldwide acclaim, including her first two Labyrinths of Echo books, The Stranger and The Stranger’s Woes.