Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: Glory Rose and the Gloaming

Glory Rose and the Gloaming
by S.M. Brandsma
275 pages
Available at Amazon

This is a very enjoyable first installment in a series about the adventures of a half-fairy girl, Glory Rose.

Set in the magical time when the young Arthur is not yet King, Brandsma deftly weaves in myth and folklore in what she calls the Ensorcelled Realm. Some of the standard mythological characters live up to their advertising: trolls and stupid and ugly, and fairies are as you would expect them to be. Brandsma takes off from the old tales to make giants and dragons good guys, which pleases me no end. So, don’t expect the same old tired magical creatures. Brandsma wisely varied from the trite retelling.

The villain, a creature of hell, is not a myth I recognize. I love when I find something in a myth-based fantasy, taken from well off the beaten path. Bassarab (or Basarab) turns out to be the family name of a certain Vlad Draculea. I’m a fan of Vlad and I missed this dynasty name in my own research. Kudos to Brandsma for mixing things up a little more.

As for writing, Glory Rose is an easy read for its young adult target audience. I believe that kids as young as ten will love the stories, the many great personalities, and the action revolving around Glory’s role as the Chosen One.

Brandsma is also an adept artist and the clever line drawings at the beginning of each chapter are a delight.

I’m looking forward to "Glory Rose and the Book of Shadows." The first chapter of the second book in the series is excerpted at the end of "Glory Rose and the Gloaming."

One last thought. Gloaming is not a familiar word and, while it is explained in the book, it doesn’t give any immediate wow factor when searching for something to read. Fortunately, Brandsma’s cover art dragon takes care of that.

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