Book Review: Adventure and Mundane Magic

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic create a world that looks and operates a lot like ours, with one big exception – magic is real and everyone has some level of ability.

Since the world runs on magic, getting into a really good university requires both exceptional magical skill and strong academic ability.

Gooseberry Bluff Community College is not a particularly good school. Yet, there’s very powerful magic located on and around the school grounds; which is why the people who work there aren’t always what they appear.

The novel takes the reader on an adventure where bad guys from another dimension use a magic-wielding cult-like collection of community college professors as the key for entry into the Gooseberry dimension. If the bad guys get through, the very-similar-to-our-own world will be viciously invaded and transformed into something terrible (in a post-apocalyptic kind of way).

While the story is well told, with a plot that provides ample opportunity for adventure and intrigue, the truly unique aspect to this novel is Joy, the main character – a black woman with exceptional magic skills and a life-long struggle with Prosopagnosia, the inability to distinguish or recognize human faces (including her own).

Joy was recruited to work for a secret agency that greatly resembles the FBI or the CIA, despite her handicap, because her magic skills and knowledge are exceptional. She also has the ability to read auras, which she uses in place of reading faces; s system that works just fine, most of the time.

Another interesting element is the description of magic. There are characters who compete in magic martial-arts competitions where laser-light-shows and smoke machines are utilized to show where the magic is flying through the air. In this world, the combatants don’t need to see the magic attacks because they can feel every move. It’s the audience who needs the light show – to make watching the combat easier.

Tossed in here and there are the personalities of characters who cross-over into this world from other dimensions. They provide a fascinating contrast to the personalities of the Gooseberry Bluff natives, many of which are complicated and nicely fleshed out.

All in all, this is a fun read. If you are looking for some vacation-time entertainment, I highly recommend this novel

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic by David J. Schwartz

Quotes from this book can be found HERE.

Hell is Limitless War


Hell was war. Once Ingrid saw the metaphor, it was obvious.Hell had no cities, only camps; no borders, only front lines.

She had seen a horde of fox-like things launch artillery shells at a fortification of stone creatures, and an eyeless giant with a flamethrower lay waste to a swarm of blood-sucking insects. The chatter of machine gun fire was as ubiquitous as birdsong. Hell might have hunger with no food and fatigue with no sleep, but it seemed to have limitless ammunition for everyone but her.

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz

Learning From An Attack


“An attack could transmit a great deal of information if you let it happen, if you rode it out. Not long enough to arouse suspicion, but long enough for the opponent to reveal something about themselves.”

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz

She Liked To Fight


“Joy flattened herself against the wall beside the door. She breathed slow and deep. She could die here if she wasn’t careful. But Joy had discovered something during her encounter in the desert, something she had not expected. She liked to fight.”

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz

A Magic Remote Control


“Dating is like…it’s like watching TV. Both place to much emphasis on appearances, both can be fun at first but quickly become tedious, and neither feels real.  The main difference is that there isn’t a magical remote control that enables you to switch men in the middle of a date.”

“Not yet,” said Rosemary. “Invent that. We’ll split the profits.”

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic by David J. Schwartz