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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Recently released from the prison of Wasteland on a trumped-up sham conviction, Elias (Eli) Graham is thrust onto the streets in a perilous future with nothing to his name...a name which was once attached to an illustrious career and a fat bank account. But that's all gone now. "This is my life now. Survive first, be picky later." As he navigates his way through homelessness and scrounges what he can to eat out of dumpsters (and occasional charity), his former protege, Darrin Silus, is on the hunt to find solutions for Thoth Corp's retail magic spells that are going horribly, horribly wrong. So wrong, that it creates the very real possibility of war and annihilation. In a world where magic means power, Eli's expertise as an architect of spells is able to save his life...but can he save it again, along with the lives of everyone and everything else in existence?
Discarded weaves its power with the concept of commercializing magic in a refreshing and unique twist that I found instantly intriguing. Michael J. Allen writes with a genuine attention to detail, building an America of the future that convenes comfortably as fantasy and science fiction in a way that feels as fully fleshed and alive as the characters existing in it. Eli is something of a rogue; extremely rough around the edges (for reasons that become understandable as I got to know him better), and an MC that is forced to balance on a delicate line between moderately decent and incredibly bad. He's authentic and I loved that. The elements of impending war and a fantasy realm that lurk within Discarded's pages are brilliant, bridging the human to fairytale chasm in a crisp tone. It's a first-rate story that allowed me to enjoy a long weekend of escapism, and I'd recommend it to any who loves to read skillfully crafted fantasy and science fiction.