The Universe Builders

Bernie and the Wizards

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
355 Pages
Reviewed on 05/09/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

What is the best way to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?
Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / magic user? What about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

But there is a serious side too. Is it important to know the other half of his bookshelf was filled with books on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis? What about his years as a hospital president, or the many businesses he created, his years as a stock trader? What about his early years counseling drug addicts? What about his years in board rooms?
Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why chose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramid of Egypt? What is it he's searching for?
And what does any of this have to do with writing a good fantasy book?
Perhaps it’s that mix within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a delightful story with such serious undertones.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite

The Universe Builders: Bernie and The Wizards by Steve LeBel is the long anticipated sequel to Bernie and the Putty. This story picks up one week after Bernie's first world wins the prestigious universe award. Armed with his ingenuity and problem solving skills, Bernie's first assignment is to fix a veteran's world by solving the problem of why the harvesting of the two designated crops that this world has created is at a standstill. After meeting with the world's creator, Bernie decides to drop in amongst the population to gather some information, in the guise of Wedon, an old weary traveler to all but a shaman named Reva. She uses a spell that reveals his true form. Suspecting that Bernie is more than he appears, she hopes that he might offer to help and maybe even do some healing for her villagers.

Mr LeBel's writing shifts between Bernie's assignment and his friends, Lenny and Suzie, whom he meets during breaks from work. They also give support by way of advice and tidbits of knowledge that help Bernie to understand things in his assignment. LeBel's characters have a certain quality about them that helps move this story along at a pace that forced this reader to turn each page with bated breath. When Bernie is reunited with his father at a banquet, they are both seated as guests of honor. And the results of meeting an ancient God gives Bernie quite the surprise. Wow ! This character driven book was well worth the wait. Bravo! Encore!

Liz Konkel

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel is the third book of The Universe Builders. Bernie has gotten the attention of some powerful and ancient gods following his award for the world he created. Trying to live his life away from the limelight that corrupted his father, he works a job fixing broken universes. Seems easy, right? It's not so easy when the world he needs to fix is in the middle of a civil war. He's told that the only way to stop the violence is to destroy the lives causing it, which goes against everything Bernie believes. Can he find another way to fix this universe before everyone on it is destroyed?

Delightful, with a wonderful sense of whimsy, Bernie and the Wizards is great for all ages! This is the third book of the series, but each one can be read alone and is easy to follow. Steve LeBel has a strong voice and a clear humor. Where chaos meets structure, you have the world of Photox, which is in the middle of a civil war, and then the gods' world which is organized and has a very clear system in place. Photox is full of violence, power struggles, grief, and loss, but when Bernie goes to fix it, he gives the people there a real sense of hope. The gods' world is very futuristic in feeling, with meetings, a class system, and degrees that they graduate with to build universes. The gods are ancient and ageless, yet the scenes with Bernie and his friends were innocent, because they felt so young. Bernie getting girl advice from his friend, Lenny, who had been in a relationship for a couple of months was adorable. Then you have the creations Sissy and Zephie who add an interesting blend of precious and all-knowing. I love Bernie and his view on life. He sees every creation as real and just as alive as he is, and I think that's the true message of the book: it doesn't matter how different someone is from him, they're still a person that he respects. A must-read book that leaves you wanting more!

Rabia Tanveer

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel is the story of the battle between a God and a magician who has powers that are far more powerful than anyone knew. Bernie is a young God; he is shy, but he knows what he has to do and he will do it at all costs. His job is very simple: fix broken universes and have them up and running for its people to prosper. His life is good, however, his new universe is a challenge. It is in the middle of a civil war where a tyrant magician, Ashok, is hell-bent on ruling that world.

Bernie is told by the “upper management” to kill the mad magician, Ashok, and his people; however, Bernie wants a peaceful solution. So he tries to reason with Ashok and have him give up his plan. Bernie tries many times to achieve peace, but all of his reasons and actions fail. This leads his boss to come to a final conclusion: kill everyone and let them start over. Bernie can’t do it, he can’t kill innocent people. However, he has no other option but to kill Ashok and his people. Just when he is getting ready to destroy them, he realizes that Ashok is far more powerful than what he believed before. Can he save the people and destroy the evil Ashok before it is too late?

Is there anything more invigorating than mythology? It is very thought provoking and so is The Universe Builders. Steve LeBel created a very beautifully human God whom I simply loved. He is not just a God, but a warrior and a being with a heart. He knows when what he is doing is right or wrong, he knows what his actions will result in. Nothing about this novel is stereotypical. It is a complete mixture of creative genius and witty original writing! Steve LeBel is a very talented writer who wrote a very well researched novel.