THE (SORT OF) DARK MAGE is a fantasy parody about an evil wizard (not really) who is the last remaining member of the Corpselover lineage. Basically like the Malfoys back in a time when magic meant something more than going to a posh school, all the elder siblings to Walder Corpselover have gotten themselves killed trying to prove themselves worthy. Waldo is more Neville Longbottom than Draco, though, and is thoroughly unqualified for the position as heir to the most prestigious of all evil wizarding families. Sensing this, his mother Lilith has become even more overprotective so her rivals demand he be sent on a suicidal quest to prove himself.
Waldo must tame three Great Monsters, steal a dragon age, and kill a knight when even one of these tasks would get him killed. Thankfully, Waldo's gentle nature (as much as he denies it) is it's own kind of defense and he ends up getting his first Great Monster, a chaste succubus named Alice, by accidentally marrying her in the first town he visits.
It's all downhill from there.
I absolutely love this book and give it extremely high marks. This is pretty much the same feeling people have described reading my Supervillainy Saga or how I felt with the Hard Luck Hank series. Its basically a nonstop series of laughs stemming from Waldo's failed attempts at being a bad person and Alice's equally unsuccessful attempts to make Waldo a good person. It's a joke which sometimes wears a bit thin but, mostly, holds up throughout the book.
If I were to make a comparison, it's pretty much the Addam's Family or Munsters with the fact Waldo is a liberal Goth kid who is mostly harmless despite being arrogant and snooty. Mind you, all the other Dark Wizards in the world really are evil but he's just a liberal open-minded oddball who happens to live in a world which consists of either Mordor or oppressive theocratic religious states. It's a bit of a cheat that the White Mages are all racist bigots but "killing all monsters for God" is hardly a new idea in a Dungeons and Dragons-themed world. It is D&D themed too since the magic functions on Vancian principles of memorization, cast, forget.
That's not a bad thing.
My favorite character of the book happens to be Lilith, Waldo's mother. Maybe I'm a sucker for beautiful dark-haired older women necromancers but I had an image in my head of her as Monica Belluci and that was a very nice image. I love how she's perfectly suited to be the kind of evil wizardess villain in another fantasy setting but works here as Waldo's dotting mother. Other supporting characters work well like Elsa and the Archlich but a lot of Waldo's quest remains unfinished at the end of the book. This is clearly a story which will take at least a trilogy to complete.
Are there flaws? A few. The book doesn't indent its paragraphs and basically reads more like a blog than a more traditional novel. This kind of thing doesn't bother me as independent publication comes with these sorts of things and Lord knows I've made a few errors in my time. Likewise, the joke of "Waldo says something horrible about his homeland like it's perfectly normal and Alice is appalled" wears a bit thin at times. Finally, the book ends in what feels like the middle of the book rather than a proper climax.
Still, I found The (Sort-Of) Dark Mage to be incredibly fun book and I immediately bought the second one. I debated between giving this book four stars or five but decided to ere on the side of how much entertainment I got out of this book, which was considerable.