The Birr Elixir (The Legend of the Gamesmen, #1) by Jo Sparkes


The author sent me a copy of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:  4  of  5  stars

(by Goodreads)

When a young apprentice makes a mysterious elixir from a recipe in an old book, she’s suddenly the talisman for a daring Gamesman – and the weapon in the conspiracy against a prince. Marra never heard of Birr Elixir. But when Drail sees the potion in her dead mistress’s book, she agrees to make it. Even lacking the right ingredient.

And after drinking it, Drail and his men defeat a Skullan team – something no one has ever done before. Marra is offered a place as his traveling potions mistress. Full of doubts of her own ability, she takes the chance to escape her slave-like existence.

Then her potions woke a man who was not supposed to wake.

Now every day draws more attention from the True Masters. And their motives – and morals – are not for the faint of heart.

If they discover the truth …


Genre:  Fantasy



Her own gaze dropped away from the sheer power of his. And alighted on the tome behind the counter.

It was Britta’s Book, the mistress’s handwritten collection of potions, balms, and notes. Snark had shoved it at Marra initially, but her reading skills were weak, and the old woman’s handwriting poor. Marra now lifted the heavy book onto the counter.


My Opinion

The book introduces you to Marra, a young apprentice in a herb shop. Drail, a comet player, asks for an energy potion. Her instructor, Britta, is dead, and she brews a potion similar to one in Britta’s Book. Drail’s team wins, and they rescue her from her new boss. It is a story of new beginnings, moral values, and belief in one’s capabilities. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With The Birr Elixir, Jo Sparkes has created a fantasy story of unusual travel companions, a global ball sport and important contests, rivalry between two nations, and intrigue. The Birr Elixir is an entertaining, gripping, and fast-paced read, making you want to read more. I was drawn into the story right away. I felt quite close to the travel companions and their experiences. All characters were believable, still leaving room for the readers’ imagination. The Birr Elixir is a great story for fantasy and sports lovers. The Birr Elixir is the first book of The Legend of the Gamesmen series. The second book in this series, The Agben School, will certainly be one of my next reads.

This is a book to read again.


About the author

Born in Rison, Maryland, which is ‘no sir’ spelled backwards. Studied martial arts — and lacking any natural ability, made every mistake along the way. Eventually the old adage, “a white belt is a black belt that never quit” proved itself.

I’ve published articles, watched commercials I wrote on television, and helped on set with various projects and corporate videos. Past member of the Pro Football Writer’s Association, when I covered the Arizona Cardinals for a popular fan website. Unofficially (very unofficially) the first to interview Emmitt Smith as a Cardinal.

Did a short stint on a local children’s television show, wrote pilots for some wonderful producers, and have been in development on a feature script of mine. Four feature scripts, actually. I’ll let you know when we get the green light.

Discovered the wonderful world of teaching at The Film School at SCC.

At this very moment we (the husband and Oscar the dog) live in Portland, Oregon. It’s sort of like living in Rivendale — without the ears.


Connect with the Author:

Amazon:  Jo Sparkes
Amazon (US):  buy link


Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about The Birr Elixir?  Or – if you did not yet read The Birr Elixir  – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

My question for you cinephiles:
If The Birr Elixir was filmed – who should direct it, who could you imagine as actors?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂


Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1



4 thoughts on “The Birr Elixir (The Legend of the Gamesmen, #1) by Jo Sparkes

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