Character Driven and a Reminder That Representation Matters | Review: I'm A Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni

7:00 PM

I'm A Gay Wizard wasn't my cup of tea, but I still enjoyed it for the most part! Plus, I genuinely liked the characters.


About

You try magic once and it sticks to you like glitter glue . . .

When Johnny and his best friend, Alison, pass their summer holidays dabbling in magic, they never expect it to have consequences. Sure, it’d be great if they could banish bullies or change their lives for the better, and what harm could come from lighting a few candles and chanting a few spells? When they cause an earthquake that shakes Chicago to its core, they draw the attention of the Marduk Institute, an age-old organization dedicated to fostering the talents of young wizards.

Once there, Johnny and Alison are told they can never return to their previous lives, and must quickly adapt to a new world shimmering with monsters, fraternities, and cute boys like Hunter and Blake. But when they’re pulled into an epic, supernatural fight that could cost them both their lives, Johnny and Alison find strength they never knew they had as they battle for love, acceptance, and their own happy ending—all with the help of a little magic.
 

I'm A Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni 
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

When I saw the title of this book I was somewhere between secondhand embarrassment (it is one of those titles that I'm just not super into, like I MARRIED MY BEST FRIEND or THE BAD BOY'S RIGHT SHOULDER BLADE or whatever) and intrigue. The intrigue won out because, hello, representation. I saw it and was like, UH, yes, sign me up, immediately, thanks.

I'm a Gay Wizard has a lead in representation. It made me SO happy.

Not only does it feature a gay main character, but a transgender character and a few other potential sexual identities that are yet to be explored. For this alone, Santoni should be praised for bringing these characters into our lives. While I had a lot of issues with the plotline and the way the story is written, its biggest redeeming quality is the sincerity Santoni portrays his characters.

Going into I'm a Gay Wizard, I expected the story to be driven by its magical elements and veer into magical realism. However, it felt to be very much so character driven and I definitely am appreciative towards that. Where Santoni lacks in development of the world and magic, he gains in portrayal of his characters. Also, there's this brutal force of honesty in Santoni's plotlines that mix the magic seen in I'm a Gay Wizard with the world we live in. I'm always keen on novels that take fantasy and blend in bits and pieces of our world's struggles.

(!! GIVE ME ALL THE PARALLELS.)

Because of these moments, there are going to be some very real topics that are touched upon that will be triggering. I'm a Gay Wizard truly does not shy away from this. As always, I have to recommend that readers look into what trigger warnings it might feature. There were a lot of slurs that were used in it that could be very damaging to some readers and, bluntly, felt a bit excessive.

Overall, I enjoyed quite a few moments during I'm a Gay Wizard but also felt it fell flat in so many other moments. Does this make it a bad novel or any less important? Absolutely not. Santoni writes in a way that is simple/to the point; sometimes it drifts off into an underdeveloped territory, but it's by no means badly written.

Much like with After, I can definitely tell it had its origins on Wattpad, but that makes me all the more impressed by how far Santoni has come--and how much potential his writing has to grow.

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