Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Review for "Quest for the Simurgh" in Tales of the Talisman
Volume 5, Issue 4 of Tales of the Talisman
Ed. David Lee Summers
Rating: Four talismans
Set in the pre-Islamic Middle East, Quest for the Simurgh opens with a kindly village magician named Wafa teaching a group of teenage students about magical beasts. However, when the students arrive for the next day’s lesson, they find Wafa missing and his house ransacked. In the house, a book called Magicalis Bestialis is open to a page about mythical birds called Simurgh who possess all the knowledge of the universe. Marked with a chalk X, the students think their teacher has left a clue. Wafa’s star pupil Faiza believes their teacher was trying to tell them to seek out the Simurgh for help.
Faiza along with the three boys that are her classmates set out on a journey into the mountains in search of the birds and Master Wafa. The students soon meet a strange little man who becomes their guide. As they travel, Faiza and the boys encounter demons and gods and it soon becomes apparent they are being pulled into aconflict of cosmic proportions. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the climactic battle quite lived up to my expectations based on the solid character and storydevelopment before that point. Even so, it was well worth continuing on to learn the quest’s penultimate conclusion.
Quest for the Simurgh gives us a glimpse of life and mythology in the Middle East beyond that of The Arabian Nights. The characters were engaging and I enjoyed following them on their journey. I would recommend Quest for the Simurgh to readers of all ages seeking new and exciting fantasy realms.
-- David Lee Summers, Ed. Tales of the Talisman