Friday, January 27, 2006

Review: _Knife of Dreams_ by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time has been a popular series compared by some to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Eleven books have followed the stories of many interesting characters through several events leading to a final battle between good and evil. Now, the penultimate book Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan is out. Fans of the series have eagerly awaited for this volume, which is on the New York Times Bestsellers list. This latest entry in the series is an entertaining read due to its complex characters, detailed setting and dynamic plot.

The complex characters makes the book entertaining by drawing readers into the lives of characters, wanting to see what happens to them. Characters continue to change and grow since the beginning of the series. Rand al’Thor was not prominent in this book. All though the main character, his appearance was limited, but he suffered some changes. Egwene demonstrates her cleverness and strength as a prisoner of the White Tower. A main focus was on the character of Matt Cauthon. He struggles with protecting lives of people while courting the woman he loves. Other characters are changed by events as the author adds more complexity to his characters. They make the book entertaining while moving through an interesting setting.

The setting is interesting due to the author’s detailed, vivid descriptions. There is a well developed history the world with different cultures. Events from the past are linked to the present in a world following a pattern of ages. Readers learn how the throne of Andor is decided by a game among houses. The culture of the invading Seanchan empire is demonstrated through various characters. The overall setting contributes to a dynamic plot.

Finally, the book’s dynamic plot hooks readers and keeps the story entertaining. Switching through different plot lines and viewpoints, readers follow character that are spread out in different part of the land. Change is in the air as the final battle approaches. Rand tries to get a truce with the Seanchan in order to prepare for the battle. His friends Matt and Perrin are in far places dealing with the women in their lives. Perrin strives to rescue his wife from captivity while Matt tries to protect Tuon from assassins. The women in Rand’s life go through trials too. Elayne struggles to win the throne of her nation. Various servants of the Dark work their plots everywhere. Mr. Jordan keeps the plot movie with action and startling events.

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan is an entertaining edition to the series with its dynamic plot, complex characters and detailed setting. Fans of the series should be satisfied that this book moves the story forward in several plot threads; a slow pace was the main complaint of the last book. This book is a good entry to set up what is coming. Hopefully readers will not have to wait too long for the last book.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Review: _Prospero's Children_ by Jan Siegel

Legends of ancient times continue to fascinate people in the modern world. The legend of Atlantis is one of the most popular ones to longer. Whether a city or continent, Atlantis supposedly had an advanced civilization until it was destroyed. Scientists still argue its existence today. Some Fantasy authors incorporate the legend into their books to spark readers’ sense of wonder. Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel is the first book of a trilogy about the influence of Atlantis. The books’ setting, characters and plot creates a memorable read for readers.

The author uses vivid descriptions of the setting that stays in the reader’s memory. In the beginning, readers are introduced to an old house in the countryside of Yorkshire. It once belonged to an old sea captain and is furnished with his keepsakes from around the world. The three storey old house creates a strong atmosphere of otherness. Atlantis is described as a beautiful city built inside an old volcano. Golden buildings and mansions on terraces are part of a grand city. Setting plays an important role in shaping the characters.

Realistic characters provide readers with people to identify with in the book. Fernanda Capel is the main character. She is sixteen and independent, but unaware of her magical gift. Her inner strength helps her to guide her brother Will and father through difficult times. Alison Redmond becomes her nemesis in the form of a dangerous witch. Fern gets help from an old Wizard called Ragginbone and his wolf companion Lougarry. Later in the book she meets Rafarl, a noble young man of Atlantis. The author makes these characters real with colorful descriptions of their lives.

A strong plot keeps the reader entertained and the book in their thoughts. This book has such a plot. When Fern and her family stay the first night in the house, she hears a strange snuggling outside of her bedroom door. a shadow saves her by preventing entry into her room. She meets Ragginbone who tells Fern of her danger. The threat comes from her father’s girlfriend Alison Redmond. Fern fights the witch, but faces a greater challenge in Atlantis. Ms. Siegel keeps the plot moving at a fast pace with tight plot threads along a straight path.

Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel is an excellent first book of a Fantasy trilogy. The setting, characters and plot makes the book a memorable, entertaining read. Ms. Siegel creates an action packed beginning based on the legend of Atlantis and its intriguing magic. On finishing this book, readers will eagerly want to seek out the next two books. The author also writes under the name of Amanda Hemingway.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Welcome to Fantasy Worlds


This is the new home of Fantasy Worlds. My biweekly articles on Fantasy used to appear at Suite101. They will now appear here. I'll be posting new articles every other Friday, beginning Friday, January 13, 2006. I hope everyone will enjoy this new site as a blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for articles. Thank you.

Debbie Ledesma