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Book Review: The Marvelous Paracosm of Fitz Faraday and the Shapers of the Id

The Marvelous Paracosm of Fitz Faraday and the Shapers of the Id. Aaron J. Lawler. Black Rose Writing, Nov. 6, 2016, Hardcover, Trade Paperback, and E-Book, 268 pages.

Reviewed by Andrew Reynolds.

Aaron Lawler's novel is graced with what has to be one of the longest titles I have ever encountered. That said, the story he tells may need such a gigantic title to encompass it.

Mr. Lawler introduces us to FitzGerald “Fitz” Faraday, a somewhat ne'er-do-well teenager, along with his best friend, a teen whose reputation is even more checkered than Fitz's, and the new girl in town who cannot quite decide how to react to Fitz. He also introduces us to his friend and mentor, the eccentric Oliver Crowley, a former professor of parapsychology and a man convinced he can make thought itself physical. Crowley's efforts are nearing culmination, and Fitz is aiding him as a gofer and occasional lab assistant.

But Fitz is more than just a spare set of hands to Mr. Crowley. The reclusive researcher has realized that Fitz has a gift—the ability to see things others cannot—and he believes that Fitz could be the perfect conduit for proving his ideas. Unfortunately, Crowley's former associates—people who are intent on keeping his research from reaching fruition by any means necessary—have noted his continued activities. Their arrival at Crowley's house is witnessed by Fitz, who has agreed to take his best friend on a surreptitious tour of that same house. Making a stealthy entry, Fitz and his friend witness Crowley's murder by his former associates and learn of their plan to frame another teen—one with a violent past—for the crime.

Fitz decides to learn the secret of Mr. Crowley's plan to make thoughts into reality, and in the process, he hopes to free the teen falsely accused of murder. With his friends, he succeeds, only to draw the murderous attention of the people who killed his mentor. There is a final, fateful confrontation and an ending that leaves the reader wondering if there is another book in the offing that will continue the tale.

I do have a few nits to pick with the story. For one, I am unsure whether The Marvelous Paracosm of Fitz Faraday and the Shapers of the Id is intended to be a young adult novel or not. Whether it is or is not, there are several instances in the story where knowledge of modern slang comes in handy to understand what the characters are trying to convey. There are also a few instances where words are missing or misspelled, not enough to really distract from the story but definitely enough to be annoying.

So, did I enjoy the read? Yes. The story line keeps the reader moving along, and while the ending leaves you wondering if there is another book to come, it is fulfilling enough to satisfy. Would I recommend it to others? I think I would, but it might depend on what the person who asked likes to read. Some people will enjoy the characters and love their journey. Others, especially those who are annoyed by some of the compound-word slang used by modern teenagers, might find the level of use off-putting. As with any reading experience, what the reader is looking for is often the final arbiter of whether they will like the story or not, but I give it a positive review.


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