Ozzy Toffey has had enough adventure. But on a dark and windy night, he gets out of bed, jumps out of the window, and walks into the ocean. After almost drowning, Ozzy sure could use the help of Rin, the wizard he hired to help find his parents. But Rin is missing.
Then Ozzy receives an envelope with an airplane ticket to New York. Ozzy and his friend Sigi are convinced that Rin sent the tickets. The two set out on what they hope will be a quick trip to find Rin. Clark, the mechanical bird Ozzy’s father left him, has a hard time getting through airport security.
When Ozzy, Sigi, and Clark get to New York, they don’t find Rin. Instead, they find a rich and powerful man who wants to capture Ozzy. Will Rin appear and help save the day? Will Ozzy figure out why he keeps walking into the ocean?
The second installment of Wizard for Hire is full of action, adventure, and humor. Clark takes a bigger role in Apprentice Needed. Readers will laugh as Clark continues to fall for metal objects. His fascination with the mailbox, spoons and other metal objects is humorous, but it also highlights everyone’s need to feel appreciated. Everyone who reads Apprentice Needed will wish they had a metal bird like Clark.
The villain adds suspense to the story, in a way that is more humorous than scary. Readers will have a hard time not feeling sorry for the villain, who continually is outsmarted by two kids and a wizard. The wizard, Rin, may or may not be magical—much of the magic in the story is questionable. It’s not clear if Rin causes the weather that helps Ozzy and Sigi escape or if it was a coincidence. Plus, Rin finds magic in ordinary events, like an Uber showing up when needed.
As the story progresses, Ozzy learns the importance of letting go of things that he cannot control. Rin also teaches an important lesson about being careful with what you say. Rin says, “You may throw your words around callously, but they leave impressions on all who are struck.” Apprentice Needed has well-developed, interesting characters that readers will love. The pacing of the story leads to one suspenseful event after the other. Instead of ending the story with a satisfactory conclusion, the story ends with many unanswered questions. After reading Apprentice Needed, readers will be eagerly looking for the next book in the series.
- Ozzy finds Clark in the bathtub with a flash drive, a set of keys, and Ozzy’s portable CD player. Later, Ozzy says, “Something’s flashing.” Clark replies, “There was none of that. Just talking and listening to music. Yes, the stapler kept sort of glimmering at me, but there wasn’t any flashing. Your dad didn’t build me to be that kind of bird.”
- Ozzy thinks back to the past when his parents created a Discipline Serum that gave people “power to control one’s will, and the ultimate power to control the will of others if needed.” Their business partner “kidnapped the doctors. In doing so, they’d left Ozzy for dead. But science demands sacrifice and Ozzy’s demise was a sacrifice that Ray and Charles had been willing to take.” Later, Ray had “done away with” Ozzy’s parents.
- Ray tries to take Ozzy and Sigi to a private location. “Ozzy and Sigi were so focused on Ray that they failed to notice the two bodyguards slipping up behind them. The men grabbed them and lifted Ozzy and Sigi as if they were made of nothing but feathers . . .” In order to escape, “Ozzy lifted his right leg and threw it back into the knee of the man who was holding him. The man’s leg buckled and they both fell to the snow-covered ground. Sigi went limp and slipped halfway out of the arms of her attacker. He attempted to squeeze her harder, but her teeth connected with his right forearm and she bit down with a sense of purpose.” Rin appears and with the weather’s help, Ozzy and Sigi are able to escape.
- A man kidnaps Sigi. “One moment she had been standing in the parking lot of the Devil’s Punchbowl and the next she had been picked up and whisked away into the trees. She had kicked and fought as hard as she could, but the man holding her was strong, and something on a cloth near her nose had knocked her out.” Sigi is not hurt.
- A man sneaks into a house and pulls a gun on Ozzy. The man catches Clark in a net and “then slammed it against the wall.” Rin tells Ozzy and Sigi to drop to the ground, which they do. Then Rin “spun like he was possessed, sending book after book flying with incredible accuracy. Jon’s gun hand was nailed by the M volume of an encyclopedia, and the weapon went flying across the room and up against the wall. Rin kept spinning. Book after book thwacked Jon as he struggled to fend them off and stay standing. . . Rin sent a collegiate dictionary across the room, and it made full contact with Jon’s face. The man dropped onto his stomach and then blacked out.” The group escapes.
- Ozzy and his friends flee in a car, and Jon follows them. Jon is stuck in a traffic jam, so he “jammed the gears into reverse and flew backward into the sedan. The airbag in the red car went off as Jon gave the vehicle gas and pushed the red car back a foot or so.” Several cars are damaged, but no one is hurt.
- As Jon is chasing Ozzy and his friends, Clark goes under the car and starts pulling and biting wires and hoses. Clark “just kept biting and tearing. Clark cut the brake lines and when Jon tried to stop, the beige Corollas kept flying straight toward where Ozzy and the others had entered the trees. Jon screamed as the car launched off the side of the road into the forest.”
- Jon pulls up to Ozzy and his friends, who are stranded on the side of the road, and “with no fight or arguing, Rin dropped his staff and they all spun around and put their hands behind their backs. Jon cautiously bound their hands with a roll of packing tape he’d pulled from the van.” In order to escape, “Rin pushed his feet up against the seat beneath him and with all the strength he had in his legs, he propelled himself forward over the middle seat and up over Jon’s head. . . Most of Jon was smashed beneath him. Rin wriggled and bucked like a fish doing the worm. The surprise caused Jon to drop the gun. . .” Sigi “aimed her legs at Jon’s right side and began kicking wildly.” Ozzy and his friends escape.
- Ozzy and his friends duct tape Jon to a tree.
- Jon pulls another gun on Ozzy and his friends. “Ozzy looked up to see Jon holding Sigi, his left arm around her and the gun in his other hand. . . Sigi was putting up a fight, but her captor was strong and held a weapon while she didn’t.” Ozzy points his buzzing finger at Jon, and he “began to tremble as he held onto Sigi. His head shook and his eyes grew wide with fear. He lowered the gun he was holding and then, with one surprising move, he brought his arm up and smashed the gun against the side of his own head. The blow stunned him and caused him to stumble forward.” Sigi hits the man, and “the hired goon fell to the deck, out cold. . .”
- Rin jumps into the ocean, and then “something exploded out of the water and made contact with the Spell Boat.” The boat is split in two. “Both of the remaining halves were beginning to sink.” Jon is able to swim to the lifeboat.
Drugs and Alcohol
- The wizard casts spells. For example, he says, “Resped unidino,” and “the words caused a small flame to burn in his hand and light the space.”
- Rin “snapped his fingers” and made someone temporarily mute. The man was “trying to scream obscenities—but no sound came from his mouth.”
- Someone or something is taking over Ozzy’s mind and causing him to walk to the ocean. The first time this happens, Ozzy crawls out of bed, smashes his bedroom window. “Ozzy just stood there, his mind feeding him messages he didn’t want to obey. Without warning or reason, he ran across the room, barreling directly into the already fractured glass with his right shoulder.” When Ozzy flew through the window, “His body crumpled up as it came to a stop near two large boulders.” Ozzy walked into the ocean and “he moved deeper, as wave after wave came thundering down on top of him. . . Water filled his mouth and blinded his eyes. . . The sea ripped his legs out from under him, and Ozzy sank below the wet and deadly surface.”
- Someone or something is taking over Ozzy’s mind and causes him to drive his motorcycle too fast through the woods. A branch hits Ozzy’s helmet, causing it to spin and cover his eyes. “The motorcycle was running at top speed, and Ozzy was weaving and maneuvering through the forest like a skilled, blindfolded pilot.” When Ozzy gets to the beach, “the back of the bike flipped up and sent Ozzy sailing straight into the ocean. . .” When Ozzy hits the water, he “instantly came to—his mind was his again.”
- Ozzy’s finger, which has a strange birthmark, begins to buzz. When a police officer tries to arrest Ozzy, “his finger vibrated, his mind cleared, and electricity shot up through his legs and into his mind. Ozzy reached out and pointed toward Officer Greg, who was sitting in the police car’s driver’s seat with the door open. The officer’s body went rigid and he threw the vehicle into drive. Then, without a moment of hesitation, he slammed his right foot onto the gas pedal.” The officer drives towards a cliff, but jumps out before the car crashes into the ocean.
- When Ozzy goes into the ocean, “a strong rubbery rope of water coiled around his ankle” and pulled him under. “Going limp, his finger buzzed. The thick water gripping his left hand relaxed and was smothered by the ocean. Ozzy reached his free hand over and touched the wet ropes around his right arm. Immediately they unraveled and joined the greater body of water he was sinking in.” Ozzy is able to break the bonds of the water and resurface.