The Barnes & Noble Review
The protagonist of Kelly McCullough's debut novel, WebMage -- a blend of Greek mythology, contemporary fantasy, and cyberpunk -- is equal parts sorcerer and hacker extraordinaire (Harry Potter meets Neo from The Matrix). Prince Ravirn is the grandson of Lachesis, one of the Fates: the three immortal crones who spin, measure, and eventually cut every person's life thread. While disguised as a goth computer geek named Ravi Latcher and majoring in classics and computer science at the University of Minnesota, Ravirn is learning all he can about network security to aid the Fates, who have upgraded their magical craft to the digital world. But after supposedly checking his great-aunt Atropos's security for flaws, Ravirn uncovers a nefarious plot to eliminate chance and free choice forever. With the help of a sarcastic webgoblin named Melchior and his distant -- and beautiful -- cousin Cerice, Ravirn must find a way to save the world from a terrible fate…
McCullough's WebMage is a solid first novel; and with a shocker of a conclusion that turns Ravirn's entire existence upside down and sets the stage for a plethora of story lines, it will have new fans of Kelly McCullough clamoring to see many more sequels. Paul Goat Allen
Remember the Fates, those ancient Greek spinners, weavers and snippers of life's threads? They're back in McCullough's original and outstanding debut, and still ruling destiny-but with their own digital web, based on a server called the Fate Core. Power-hungry as ever, they've coded a spell to eliminate human free will. Unluckily for them, one of their demigod descendants is a cheerfully rebellious hacker-sorcerer named Ravirn who, when not studying for college midterms, likes to mess around on their web with the help of his familiar, Melchior, who can change from a goblin to a laptop. Ravirn and Melchior, let loose in McCullough's delightfully skewed and fully formed world-much like our own, but with magic, paranormally advanced technology and Greek gods-set out to thwart Ravirn's "great-to-the-nth-degree aunt[s]," careening from one discovery to another, enlisting unlikely allies and narrowly evading destruction at the hands of both Fates and Furies. McCullough handles his plot with unfailing invention, orchestrating a mixture of humor, philosophy and programming insights that give new meaning to terms as commonplace as "spell checker" and esoteric as "programming in hex." Though a preponderance of techie-talk may put off some readers, this is the kind of title that could inspire an army of rabid fans; it's a good thing a sequel is planned for 2007. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Ravirn is an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota where he is majoring in Classics, minoring in Computer Science, sharing a dorm room with a Toby Keith fan, and trying to study for midterms. He is also a first rate hacker with a knack for debugging any faulty computer program, or for that matter, any misfiring magical spell. It may also be worth mentioning that he is the umpteenth great-grandson of Lachesis, one of the three Fates of Greek mythology and a minor demigod in his own right. When his great-aunt, Atropos (she is the one who cuts the thread of human life) demands Ravirn's help with a spell that does not quite work the way it is supposed to, he discovers that the darkest of the three Fates is attempting to create magic that will completely do away with human free will. As an idealist, a hacker, and a general all-around smart-ass trickster, Ravirn is appalled by this plot and sets out to stop it, aided by his trusty combination Webgoblin and laptop, Melchior. Their quest evolves into a running battle with a variety of trolls, demigods, familiars, goddesses, Titans, and other supernatural entities. McCullough's first novel, written very much in the style of Roger Zelazny's classic Amber novels, is a rollicking combination of verbal humor, wild adventures, and just plain fun. The multitude of mythological allusions, however, as well as a modicum of sex mark the book as most appropriate for older readers. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, Ace Books, 320p., pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
In an unusual blend of ancient Greek mythology and high-tech Web hacking, this novel chronicles Ravirn's attempts to block one of the Fates from taking away human free will. Ravirn is the grandson of Lachesis, the Fate who measures out the lifelines. He and his blue demon sidekick, Melchoir (who also is his laptop computer), uncover the plot while hacking into the Fates' system. They face myriad difficulties in trying to thwart the plot, especially since Atropos places a spell on Ravirn so that no one will believe anything he says when he attempts to talk to them about the scheme, and she also sends the Furies to eliminate him. He falls in love with Cerise (which gets a little steamy) and in the end, Ravirn and Cerise work together (after Atropos kidnaps Cerise to get Ravirn to surrender) along with the other sentient computer program sidekicks that the Fates have trashed over the years as they upgraded to newer machines. A unique first novel, this has a charming, fresh combination of mythological, magical, and computer elements: "I turned back to Melchoir. He stood beside the completed hexagram…spat a netspider into the center…it paused…then vanished. It was back an instant later, and Melchoir scooped it up and popped it into his mouth. He made a face at the bitter taste. ‘Ltp link established,' said the webgoblin, ‘connecting to Mtp://mweb Weasel1@Atropos.web/server/core?'" The tale has various aspects that will enchant many types of readers.