Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he’ll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says “Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL.” Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn’t actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth — aka Rin — he’s even more skeptical.
Sure, Rin dresses like a wizard, but the short robe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox, as does Rin’s habit of writing notes on his shoes and eating breakfast for every meal. Plus, Rin doesn’t even cast any magic spells, which means that the unexplained coincidences that start happening around Ozzy are just that — coincidences.
With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy’s father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.
I just finished Wizard for Hire, and I already want to read it again. This cozy read is all things fantastic: adventure, silliness, thought-provoking, and honestly, the best description of a “comfort read”. Wizard for Hire is like drinking hot cocoa and I couldn’t have asked for a better book to close out the year with. I wish I had a physical copy so I could hug it.
As you’re researching it, you will no doubt come across the phrase, “If you like Harry Potter, then this book is for you” and I’m usually very apprehensive of comparing books to such timeless classics and beloved favorites, but this one is actually best fit into the hands of the Harry Potter fandom. Not only is Harry Potter referenced in this book (like, 10 times) but Ozzy himself looks up to Harry in many of the same ways that I know long-time fans do too. This isn’t fanfic of Harry Potter, but the references to it do make Ozzy seem a bit more real to us because he loves something that we do too.
That is where the similarities to Harry Potter end, however. I saw many reviews saying that Skye just tried to rewrite Harry Potter because it was popular and that there is no originality in this story, but for those comments, I only have question marks??? This is so different in its adventure, its characters, and even the plot, I really don’t even see how that conclusion could have been drawn outside of the HP references. Harry Potter may have been an influence for Wizard for Hire, but it was by no means copied.
On its own two feet, Ozzy’s journey is full of heart. This book is wholesome and funny, and like I said, just huggable. I love Ozzy, so, so very much. I love Rin. I adore the heck out of Clark. And Sigi is so perfect. All of the characters were wonderfully done.
The way that Wizard for Hire is written would have irritated me in any other book, but for some reason, it worked for this one. Really well. It jumps points of view often, and will many times cut to someone who you will never hear from again to progress the story, and as I said, that would have irritated me in just about any other book, but not this one. It was handled masterfully and added to the story incredibly well. I wouldn’t want it changed at all. And though it is the first of a trilogy, there’s no cliffhanger. It is all tied up nicely at the end and most readers will likely be happy with this book alone (but not me, I am on to book two immediately!).
On a final note, listen to the audiobook! I binge-listened to this book in 2 days and Kirby Heyborne’s extreme voice talent is to thank for that. It’s included for free with your Audible subscription too *wink*.
Overall, I’ve already shelved this book amongst my “favorites” and I cannot stress enough how much I loved this book!