________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 19 . . . . May 16, 2008


The Wrath of Zar. (The Demons of Destiny, Book One).

Shayne Easson.
Marrero, LA: WestBank Publishing (no Canadian Agent), 2007.
269 pp., hardcover, $24.95.
ISBN 0-978-9840-1-3.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

* /4


Gnith walked upon broken grass as he crept toward the mouth of the cave. The entrance waited at the base of the mountain, turned slightly from the rising sun. The effect caused an illusion that defended the entrance from those who pursued its secrets. He wheezed unsteadily through his stuffed nose, tried to catch a scent of his past. His eyes deceived him, yet painful memories of a horrible past flashed through his mind. It alerted him that the entrance was certainly there. Mirror bats flew along the edge of the mountain. They dove down into the meadow and flew in a single row barely above the ground. Their golden-tipped wings flickered through the tall grass like a river of fire. Gnith scratched his balding head with ragged fingernails as he watched them. The ground vibrated beneath his wrinkled toes. He gasped. They were coming.


A first novel by a new author, this fantasy tale suffers from a number of problems which compound to arrive at the "Not Recommended" rating. Many of these issues should have been caught during the editing by the publisher.

     The editing problems include a few grammatical errors and some of the actual formatting presentation to do with the assembly of some of the sentences and paragraphs. The writing tends to be choppy at times, for example, with several pages comprised of nothing but very short sentences.  There is nothing wrong with the use of short sentences for a deliberate effect, but some variety makes for a better read. Fantasy purists may find a few setting and technical points to pick at, but I suspect that the creation of a new fantasy world, in this case a mediaeval setting, and some more time to research and develop the background, took a back seat to the writing of the actual tale.

     The plot, almost a stock fantasy story, involves a young man, Adan, who is not a warrior, going off in search of his missing brother, Dex. He believes his brother may have been kidnapped by demons, once considered to be just a myth. A dark lord has risen and unleashed the demons upon the land. There is a princess, Karyna, in love with Prince Rowen from a neighbouring kingdom. Her father doesn't approve of the match. There are good and evil dragons and mysterious strangers garbed in black or red cloaks skulking through the woods. Adan, who tends in the beginning toward incompetence, and his side-kick Myron, a dead shot with a cross bow, gather up a collection of characters as they battle their way through the novel. The story follows the different groups until they come together to battle an army of demons. An appendix with a list of characters and countries by name would have been helpful to keep track of the various heros, shady characters and nasty villains, given the separate storylines. The Zar in the title of the book is a dragon with a genuine mean streak.

     This is a hardcover book of 273 pages and is book one of "The Demons of Destiny" series. The last printed page in this novel provides some information about the author and the forthcoming book two, The Resurgence of Granaz now in production. For someone with limited shelf space, there are other, more polished fantasy novels in print. There is a ray of light. The author can weave a complicated tale and has some talent but just needs to spend more time on detail and refinement.

Not recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.   

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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