Series: 'Mancer #3
Published by Angry Robot on September 6th 2016
Our reviews of this author: The Flux
Fix is the final instalment of Ferrett Steinmetz’s Mancer series and brings to a conclusion a story that I’ve found totally absorbing and unique.
I think for this particular review I’m not really going to delve too much into the story. I don’t want to give anything away and I’m going to make the assumption that you’ve read the previous two books in the series. If not, well then, I strongly suggest, nay implore, you to do so. I also recommend not reading further in case there are spoilers for the first two books lurking below.
This is a very entertaining series that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. If you love gaming and movies and all sorts of culture references, huge splashes of fun and a world that brings to you a new form of magic with oodles of action then I think you’re going to love this series.
At the end of the last book I remember wondering how this family unit, that I’d come to enjoy reading about so much, would actually get on or even survive. Let me say from the outset that this book puts you through the wringer a little bit in that respect and in fact has something of a different feel to the first two. The first story totally blew me away and was really good fun. The second is considerably more serious and leaves you wondering what’s going to happen next. The third, starts in a totally innocuous way with the characters that we already love trying to fit into a relatively normal, everyday, lifestyle. Of course they’re anything but ‘relatively normal’ being incredibly strong ‘mancers’ and things pretty quickly go to hell in a handcart whether they wanted it to or not. Something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions should be inserted here I think!
Yes, I started reading Fix with a sense of dread and that was basically something that was set to develop quite strongly as the story progressed. We have a set of people who, whether you like them or not, are on the run, outlaws. You have a young girl with such strong magical abilities that it’s really quite scary to think of what’s going to happen to the world if she suffers from teenage angst! And basically you have this whole wannabe family situation just waiting to go wrong – with of course the massive implications and potential casualties along the way if that really happens. This is a family that you might love to read about – but they’re dangerous – okay, I still love them.
For me Fix had a very different feel to the first two books. This is a book that looks more at consequences and examines actions. It’s a more difficult read in that respect because rather than everything being about kickass fun and badass goodies in capes we actually get to see some of the implications of what really happens when people wield magic. Now, there are always two sides to every story and this is the same here and in that respect I think that the author pulls a wonderful twist out of the bag which I really didn’t see coming.
In a way this is a coming of age story with a difference. We feel Aliyah’s longing for acceptance and rebellion against her own family unit. It’s kind of inevitable, she’s growing up and wants her own space – in fact, she wants to blend in and be accepted more than anything else. We witness Paul as he goes through the emotions of trying to protect his daughter and wreaking total havoc as a result and then having to face the consequences and guilt of his own actions. We also have the wonderful Valentine who is also suffering a little bit of an identity crisis.
On top of this we finally get to visit Europe, broached and highly dangerous but nonetheless intriguing. And we learn a good deal more about ‘mancy’ and the Unimancers and discover that things are not always as clear cut as they seem.
Put in a nutshell, yes, this is a more difficult read. It has the feeling of a series that is growing up, in much the same way that Lord of the Rings started with birthday parties and fireworks but then led to war, this series started out with fun and references but then took us down the road of consequences. Magic always has payback and we experience this quite fully in Fix. So, yes, this is a less easy read, but then in another respect very satisfying. The author doesn’t make this easy, there isn’t any wand waving to conjure away the badness – we finally begin to understand the real implications of everyone’s actions and it isn’t always pretty. There are usually two sides to every argument and its not always easy to decide who’s right or wrong and this is something that becomes very evident in Fix.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series and have no hesitation in recommending it. I don’t think that Fix had the high octane, sometimes laugh out loud feel, of the previous two books but I think it was the perfect ending to the Tsabo story.