A good review that made me think…

This one is from Deathray magazine (February 2008 issue) in the UK, written by Owen Williams – another 4 out of 5 stars for The Shadow of Tyr.

I must admit to my shame that I don’t know this magazine.
I am guessing, but I think Williams is someone who has a love-hate relationship with the genre, and I’m relieved to find I fall on the good side of the divide! The review was certainly entertaining and had me thinking about my own work, which is always a good thing. Go out and buy the February issue to read it all. Here are some exerpts:

Heart of the Mirage was “immediately notable for fantasy world building that owed more to the Roman Empire and the Arabian Nights than to traditional medieval genre tropes. The follow-up The Shadow of Tyr…shifts the action to the heart of the Empire and replaces the Arabian elements with some shades of the American War of Independence.”

“Larke’s writing is breezy and refreshing, conveying some heavy themes with a light touch and a deft vocabulary; uniquely among fantasy authors, she knows the correct usage of ‘disinterested’. There’s also a lot of humour in the novel; a level of wit – rather than out-and-out comedy – that sets it apart from some of its more po-faced contemporaries, in a way a little bit reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar series.”

Really strong and believable female leads like Ligea are all too rare in a genre where even exceptional writers, such as Robin Hobb, generally use men as their protagonists. The threat of Arrant taking the limelight from Ligea is worrying…”

I must admit, I had no thought of the American War of Independence when I was writing the book; I was thinking in more general terms, but I certainly was basing my story on a background of any Empire resulting in inequality and the misuse of power, and whether the struggle to be free is worth the price paid.

The bit about Fritz Leiber blows me away. Wow.

As for the last bit – well, I kind of thought of both Heart of the Mirage and The Shadow of Tyr as being Ligea’s story, while Arrant’s story is covered in The Shadow of Tyr and The Song of the Shiver Barrens. Ligea is in the latter too, and her role is important and crucial, but she doesn’t take centre stage. I don’t look on her as being overshadowed by her son though – she is far too strong an individual for that, but it is Arrant’s book. And I hope it is still good for all that…


A good review that made me think… — 2 Comments

  1. I didn’t make a connection with the American War of Independence either … but then that’s a story (well okay, a history) that never really excited me much, possibly because I had to study it at school. Perhaps, as you say, the resemblance is more generic.

    And hey, I do understand what disinterested means, it’s just not a word I use that often. 😀

    Nice positive review though … and well deserved, of course.

  2. I loved Arrant’s story and felt he and Tarren deserved a little limelight. As for female protagonists, he needs to read some more, there a dozens of them around these days. In fact I was only thinking the other day that most of the lead characters I have been reading about have been females. Seems to me it is a trend in the genre.

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