"Discarded" by Michael J. Allen* Review

I received this complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.

Discarded by Michael J. Allen follows Darrin, a freshly-released criminal, as he attempts to reassimilate to a society fraught with magic with the most mundane of uses. Having sworn to lay off magic after it landed him in the Wasteland for a century, Darrin is conflicted when people from his past and present start reaching out to him for help, help that would require him to use magic once more. Should he do what he feels is right, even if it's for the society who left him for dead, or should he remain discarded?

Let me begin by saying that I appreciate the diversity in this book: the protagonist is a middle-aged black man, and the other characters comprise successful women in high-ranking positions and ethnic minorities existing without having to conform to the author's prejudices. Although seemingly forced at times, the colorful cast of characters is a breath of fresh air for the genre.

The one thing I can't get past, though, is the protagonist's motivation (or lack thereof), something that severely affected my enjoyment of the book. Darrin seems to be stubborn for being stubborn's sake, and all of his actions are seemingly decided by, "Is this going to show that my character's stubborn? Yes? I'll do it then!" That repetition, paired with how slowly the plot moves along, makes this a tedious read.

Allen created an amazing world full of potential, but the way he goes on and on and on about trivial, unimportant details instead of telling us more about this world, on top of presenting us with a flat protagonist, really makes Discarded fall short. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars because I feel like it could've been done so much better!

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