Reviewing other people’s work is hard. You would not criticise someone else’s baby and your own novel, short story or poem IS your precious baby. Despite this I have reviewed the first book in a trilogy and am sharing it in the hope that someone will find a good read that does not end when the pages run out. I believe the second instalment will be out at the end of the year.
The Cloudstone Key by Darren T Patrick ( The Rithhek Trilogy)
Karsen, a young man on the brink of adulthood, is finding himself in unknown lands on a quest after his half brother commits a serous crime in their home village. The initial thrill of discovering that the world is full of fantastic creatures and magic is quickly exchanged for a growing fear for his life. Having committed his first crime, Petr turns against Karsen and joins the evil forces, the mysterious Shroud, that have returned to haunt the world. This leaves Karsen alone to fulfil his promise to hand over an object that is steeped in old, almost forgotten, lore to an unknown recipient in a far-away country while the enemy is hot on his heels.
Karsen is meant to continue his father’s prestigious art of mining for Cloudstone, but all he wants to do is explore the world outside and he meets creatures – magical and wondrous – during his wanderings, but apart from Bestah, the Sky-Touched, they fail to come alive and leave the written pages to inhabit the world that has been conjured up for them. Admittedly, plot and characters have ample time to come alive and be explained as the trilogy continues, but I am left with a feeling that the story would have benefitted from being longer.
The novel is well-written and the author has included a map that helps the reader to make sense of the new world he has created. I am hooked enough to look forward to the second instalment and more than happy to recommend it as a good read.
To be honest I actually do like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy by that guy Tolkien, who also translated Beowulf into modern English; the pipe smoking, tweed wearing gentleman who lived in South Africa as a young child (where he encountered a big scary spider that inspired him – possibly – to conjure up Shelob as Gollum’s partner in crime) and who later was fighting in the Great War before becoming a professor at Oxford University and a member of the Inklings, together with C S Lewis, another pretty well-known author. The two were friends at first but had a major fall out. Not that I am obsessed or anything, apart form watching the extended version of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the (truly awesome) books to the big screen on a regular basis. I am not going to reveal how regularly as I do not want to come across as the nerdy type unnecessarily. When I am not rereading the Trilogy or watching it on my laptop I will look for a read that will threaten Tolkien as the best fantasy author ever roaming Earth. I must admit I am a harsh judge, but there are gems out there and also a few really decent ones:
Christopher Paolini, The Inheritance Cycle – for its ending.
LLoyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Prydain – for being another classic.
Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices – for being 21st century (and yet not).
At the moment I am reading The Cloudstone Key, by Darren T. Patrick (first book in the trilogy The Rithhek Cage). I stumbled upon the book ( which is actually untrue as I downloaded it to my Kindle because I am not convinced by my local Waterstone’s new look. I might come back to how I like my book shop to look like in a future post). Will it beat Bilbo and Gandalf to the number one spot? Maybe not, but it is promising to be an enjoyable journey into the inner fantasy land that anyone with a book can access at any time at a reasonably low cost. In a way the book reminds me a little of the fantastic world that Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell evokes in The Edge Chronicles, a series of books set in the most amazing world that includes sky ships and floating rocks.