Review: Junk Mage by Elliot Cooper

When technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.

Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.

Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.

Soooooo . . . . . . FUN!

I am officially in love with Quill, Hunter and Elliot Cooper. I had a great time reading Junk Mage from the very beginning and my only niggle is that it wasn’t longer. I wasn’t ready to let these characters go and I wouldn’t be mad if the author decided to conjure up a sequel. I know Quill has some more snark in him that I need to read.

I read Junk Mage in one sitting and got caught up in the story so quickly I didn’t even look at my locations in the book until it was about over and I was all, “NO, not ready!”.

Quill is not selfish by any means, but he is so chill and the overall lack of fucks he gives about most everything have earned him a bit of a reputation and made it a smidge tough to get a job. He’s managed to secure a position at a prestigious magical university through an old friend, but said friend is a rule follower and pretty adamant that Quill gets to his post on time, or he’s out. Of course, Quill being Quill, he cuts a few corners and gets himself stranded on a planet known to be populated by criminals and the dregs of the universe.

Quill’s got skills though and he’s off in search of parts to cobble together using his technomancy strengths so he can fix up his ship, appropriately named Lemon, and get to school on time. The author built the setting around Quill really well. There was plenty of detail to picture his challenges but not so much that Quill’s character got lost, his personality stayed front and center, just where it belonged. 

He’s pretty stoked when he comes across what seems to be a junkyard and figures he can get the parts he needs and get back in the sky pretty quickly. Problem is the cyborg guarding the yard is more junkyard dog than friendly shopkeep and he gives Quill the brushoff without ceremony. Quill is curious though and he needs parts so he’s not giving up easily. They begin a real conversation tentatively and I loved reading the evolution of their friendship.

Turns out Hunter doesn’t own the yard, he doesn’t even really manage it, he’s purely there for his muscle and to protect his mistress. Quill is familiar with Hunter’s mistress’s work in the illegal magic she dabbles in and his heart breaks for Hunter and the life he’s leading out of loyalty to his mistress. Quill really is a big softy as is also evidenced by his protective instincts for the native creature that attaches to him, Junior the cannibalistic Narl, even though the critter could literally suck the bones out of his bod. But, Junior was being bullied and Quill just couldn’t let that be a thing. So, it’s no wonder his heart goes out to Hunter too.

Quill’s second visit to the yard, and to Hunter, was seriously precious. When Quill presented Hunter with his “gift” I swooned. Just like any self-respecting book lover would. I was developing a soft spot for Hunter and his reaction to the gift was. It. It was subtle, but it was so important and Quill knew it. The second visit also led to all manner of magical shenanigans and adventure. It was fun to read without being over the top and not too much so that the story lost its fun.

There’s implied steam at the end of the story, but the romance that was all about support and hope, not hearts and flowers was perfect for the characters. I’ve got no problems believing that these two could live happily ever after. Quill is just wired that way and I don’t think Hunter will ever lose his sense of wonder of Quill.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves their sci-fi with a healthy dose of humor and accidental heroes. Those kinds really are the best. They read realistically and make the MC’s accessible to the reader, which, in the case of fantasy and sci-fi reads is so important. Again, wouldn’t be at all upset to read some more about these guys.

Also, the cover is made of awesome. :D

For more information on  Junk Mage and Elliot Cooper, check them out on Goodreads.

Did you see Elliot Cooper and NineStar Press' giveaway today? See here!

**a copy of this story was provided to BMBR for an honest review**

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