Monday, 13 June 2011

Luthiel's Song #1 - Dreams of the Ringed Vale by Robert Fanney

Welcome to the World of Dreams. 

First Summer’s Eve has come and all elves celebrate as the black moon’s shadow fades from the world. It is also Luthiel’s fifteenth birthday. 

With it come two extraordinary and dangerous surprises: a Wyrd Stone, its silvery heart a window into a world of dreams and nightmares, and a Blade Dancer, dreaded protector of the Faelands, who bears a dark message. 

Instead of a celebration, Luthiel is given a terrible choice: if she does nothing, someone she loves deeply will die. Or, to save a life, she can break the most perilous law of the Faelands, and venture alone to the Vale of Mists. 

If she chooses the journey, she must race Othalas— eldest and most feared of all the werewolves—past great black spiders who weave webs out of nightmares, through glittering mists with the power to reshape flesh, and at last into death by the teeth of the dark and ancient Vyrl, who feed on the blood of elves. 

Either choice will bring death—unless Luthiel can find the secret in her remarkable Stone, a secret that even the nightmares fear.

I really enjoyed this book! 

No, strike that. I loved it! (pick yourself off the floor, you read right

Why you ask? Well, the major reason is because there wasn't any pain in the butt, he-man ready to make all the decisions or do what was 'best' for our heroine without her consent. Heck, there wasn’t even - technically - a main male character and a joyful lack of romantic entanglements. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for a dash of romance in a book but there is no denying that sometimes it really does painfully complicate a plot and feelings just get plain messy. 

But moving on....

Nope, Luthiel made all of her own decisions from the very beginning. And that in itself was like a breath of fresh air. There was no one peering over her shoulder trying to control her actions or influence her decisions. She decided that she was going to save her sisters life so she went for it. She decided that she was going to save others by putting her own life in danger and possibly getting herself killed in the process, she went for it.

BUT she is also not above taking advice from others when it is offered. Which showed a fantastic display of maturity in her part I think. 

The wonderful thing is that she is a young heroine. At 15 I think I would have loved to have read a book about a girl who was strong and in control of her own decisions and life while battling through growing up and trying to grow into the sort of person that she wants to be – not what others are trying to shape her as. She starts of on a journey that she knows won't be easy, expecting to die at the end of it but despite the difficulties that she faces as she journeys on she doesn't let them hinder her but keeps going, keeping her sister's life at the front of her mind. Keeping the reason behind her actions and motivations front and centre in her mind - something we can all take a lesson from I think. 

This book was very enjoyable for other reasons too.

The idea of werewolves is something that has been used, and used, *deep breath* and used again in literature over the past few years but our werewolf in this is different. He doesn't change back into a man, he is stuck as a wolf and has been for a very long time because of the changing power of the Vale. I liked this idea. It made it more special some how. It also made him a very real character and hard to figure out at some points and I was thrilled to read about his growing protectiveness and loyalty towards Luthiel.  

I loved how Luthiel's influence on others changed them for the better throughout the book as she gained allies and friends in the most unlikely places. Even the idea that the baddies weren't really the baddies… I actually found myself liking the Vyrl and I can't wait to read more about them. 

The supporting characters and world make this book both enjoyable and captivating. It was a world I did not want to leave - even to sleep. (2 am finishing time for this one guys)

There is something in this book for everyone. Adventure, danger, suspense, elves, magic, monsters, werewolves... 

A marvellous read! I wanted to start reading from the beginning as soon as I had finished it (I see a re-read in my very near future)

I would absolutely recommend this to YA readers, fantasy lovers and anyone looking for a really good read.
(My invisible  - I have allergies - Cheshire Cat loves this book too)

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