CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 34. . . .May 12, 2017
SPARX Incarnation combines the previously published Mark of the Green Dragon and Order of the Undying into one complete epic fantasy. The story follows Nud, a young bog-dweller on a quest to understand the strange stone he digs up. His community is under threat from the acquisitive town of Harrow, and as he and his friends encounter various dangers and learn the powers unleashed by the stone, they realize they may have the key to saving their towns. Nud learns to access the consciousness of the Hurlorn, a race of tree-like beings, and is guided by a great White Whale. After escaping from a cavern, Nud meets the undying king who is driving Harrow’s aggressions from his Iron Tower. Nud’s friends are captured to be offered as a sacrifice to the White Whale, but Nud uses his Sparx stone to defeat their enemies and re-kill the king.
Nud is telling the story long after it happens, when he has turned into a Hurlorn. Interludes throughout the book return to Nud the Hurlorn who philosophizes about his journey and about turning into a tree. The last few chapters after the climactic battle quickly summarize the rest of Nud’s life and his transmutation.
Sparx Incarnation is a Tolkein-esque fantasy with an extensively imagined world and some intriguing ideas. It has a team of characters who interact with each other humourously and with the tensions and loyalties of longtime friends. There are fights with monsters and evil people, and the main character has to make difficult choices.
It has the elements of a fun story, but the book is about three times as long as it needs to be. The narration is unwieldy with flashbacks and long descriptive and explanatory passages; politics and mythology are explained in stilted dialog rather than shown; plot happens sporadically between many chapters of travelling through towns and landscapes.
The writing is often awkward and confusing. Passages describing the magical powers of the SPARX or the Hurlorn tend to be cryptic to the point of meaninglessness. The prologue and interludes from the point of view of Hurlorn Nud contribute little to plot or character development.
There are many better epic fantasies from which to choose.
Kim Aippersbach is a writer, editor and mother of three living in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.