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From the back cover: If you knew magic and had the power to make anything happen, how would you use your magic? Would you be good long? Rich? Famous? Would you have sex or find love? How about live forever?

It’s a good series of questions. Does this book answer them? For Pete Mondragon, it does.

It took me a while to warm up to this book. Once I got into it, it read more like chronological vignettes from the life of Pete Mondragon. There are times when the author gets very particular and in-depth, and then there are times when the book skips like a rock on a lake.

A lot of the time, I enjoyed it. The book itself touched on aspects of Navajo spirituality and magic, Santeria spirituality and magic, and New Age spirituality and magic, and how the three work in different aspects of the life of the protagonist. It comes to a rough, abrupt end that left me feeling unhappy, but I suppose that eliciting an emotional response is what any artwork aims for, right?

Is it a great book? No. It’s an okay book that could be better. It could be smoother. The premise has great potential. I think I discerned the concept and feeling that the author was aiming at; it just seems to me that it didn’t go far enough. The author added a second (or possibly a third, depending on your interpretation of the main story) divergent storyline in about halfway through the book that didn’t really connect the way it could have.

And from a technical point of view, it could have used a more stringent editor. The spelling and punctuation errors in the book pulled me out of the story quite often. I think it could have benefited from a stricter editing process and the fleshing out of some parts of the story, to the tune of about fifty more pages.

I would say that it’s a solid two, maybe two and a half stars, if I were to give it that sort of rating. It’s not really a book I would put In rotation in my world.

~review by Jeremy Bredeson

Author: Thomas Gérard
Self-published (Printmaker), 2007/2012
218 pages

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