January 9, 2012

Delightful adventure

The Windrider I: Divine Summons (The Windrider Saga)The Windrider I: Divine Summons by Rebecca P. Minor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This adventure story is centered around a couple of charming characters who are just annoying enough to be realistic, without being so annoying you don't want to spend time with them.

The funny thing is, as Vinyanel and Veranna annoy the blazes out of each other, they don't seem to realize that they're both annoying for the same reason: arrogance. Fortunately they have the level-headed Majestrin, whose gravitas anchors them. And since Vinyanel and Veranna both excel in their own ways -- he as a warrior and she as a prophetess -- we enjoy their company and forgive their flaws.

Minor has created a rich fantasy world and pulls off that trick that so many of us find so hard -- she's implied a long history of conflict between two races by letting us experience the results of the history through the lives of the characters. No long, boring expository passages here. The story moves along at a quick clip.

The prose is occasionally lofty and a bit stilted; this may be a feature some fans of High Fantasy will see as a plus. I found it a bit off-putting. But then, I feel the same way when Tolkien does it.

There are several plot elements to keep track of: an enemy invasion, the quest for a sacred chalice, the appointment of the king's new champion and the formation of a new band of dragon-riders. The connections between all things things are barely hinted at, yet the subtext tells me the connections must exist. I look forward to seeing how things come together in part two.

I also look forward to spending more time with my new friends.

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