Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review of New Fantasy Novel

REVIEW BY ANNE CARLISLE (also on Goodreads)

First  up, elements that I like in the book. The simplistic writing style works well for fable. The opening scene of the novel successfully creates a suspenseful premise-- a struggle over the transfer of power.  the theme of taking on custodial responsibility is also strong and layered in quickly, when a key character walks into a gruesome situation. 
I realize writing a book which  posits an original world requires nomenclature, but  I'm not sure that the made-up words here  always add value. The word "Luima," for example, is just close enough to "Lima" to be confusing. I find myself wanting to call  "Ilona"  a name I'm familiar with, "Iona."  But that may just be a personal reaction. 
Two deaths, including a queen killed by a prince, are big events to take in at the outset. Perhaps if they were combined with fuller characterization, the opening would seem less sketchy. Also, to my eye, the dialogue is sometimes stilted, and the prose is not as tightly edited as it could be. The word "startled" is used twice within a few sentences.  "Confidante" is written as "confidant" throughout. More than a few sentences  need whittling. Here's an example:  "The soldiers escorting them flanked the convoy of carriages on either side." "Flanked" means on either side, and we already know they are carriages. Finally, expressions such as "the dead of night" will be regarded by some readers as too cliche.
As the book progresses, it gets stronger and  better. It is a plot-driven fantasy and a good read for those who enjoy following the trials and tribulations, the codes of honor and conduct, that pertain to knights and royalty of a faraway realm.