Friday, August 22, 2008

Review: _Gilfeather_ by Glenda Larke

Write what you know is a motto writers follow using their knowledge and experience to bring their fiction to life. Glenda Larke uses what she knows to create a vivid, engaging story in her “Isles of Glory” trilogy. In the second book Gilfeather, Glenda Larke invents a gripping, exciting book through setting, characters and plot.

The setting makes the book exciting by being interesting. Ms. Larke is an Australian living in Malaysia. She uses her knowledge from these places to bring the story to life. Her setting is an archipelago of islands made up of different cultures. Magic consists of two groups, sylvs who can heal and dunmagickers who destroy and blight people’s lives. A third group are the Aware who can see magic and are immune to magic. The story starts on the island of Mekate, which has a tropical coast and the highland part of the island inhabited by independent minded people that herd selvers. The Plainsmen have a unique sense of smell that plays a major role in the story. The Xolchas Stacks is an interesting island group made of columns of land where the people live. These stacks will occasionally fall into the sea. Both islands add an intriguing touch to the book due to Ms. Larke’s unique ideas.

Next, the characters are realistic with flaws that keep the book suspenseful. This book focuses on the character Gilfeather. He is a Plainsman and physician from Mekate. His life changes after his path crosses with two women and he must deal with a crisis of conscience. Blaze and Flame return with problems still dogging them. Blaze must deal with worry for her friend’s increasing nasty behavior. Flame is consumed with killing the Dunmaster who corrupted her. These characters are brought to life by Ms. Larke’s wonderful descriptions.

In the end, the book's plot keeps the story exciting for readers. The book starts with Gilfeather traveling to a town because of his wife. She is going to be stoned for adultery. He meets Blaze and Flame, finding himself a fugitive because of them. Gilfeather gets caught up on the women’s pursuit of the Dunmaster Morthred to kill him. His people do not believe in magic or murder. Wanting to live quietly in exile, Gilfeather finds himself drawn to helping Blaze and Flame for various reasons. The plot continues at a rapid pace until reaching a gripping conclusion. Ms. Larke weaves a strong plot that keeps readers interested to the end.

Gilfeather by Glenda Larke is the interesting second book of the “Isles of Glory” trilogy. Setting, characters and plot blend the create a gripping, exciting story. This keeps the middle book of the series from being slow and uninteresting. The author leaves enough events up in the air for the last book, The Tainted. I look forward to reading the last book soon.

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