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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spirit Singer by Edward Willett

Spirit Singer by Edward Willett
Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Sun Rating: 3 suns
Reviewed by Asphodel

Amarynth is a spirit singer, gifted with the ability to lead the spirits of the dead to the Gate of the Upper World and the Light that lies beyond it.
Spirit Singer harkens back to the classic fantasy trope of a young person leaving everything they know behind to go on a quest that will help save the village. The person has no idea of their own innate power, nor the scope of the danger that is really the threat. Adventure awaits, sometimes with anticipation and often with dread, and they rise to the challenge. I read a lot of these sorts of books when I was younger, devoured them really, and have never lost my taste for them. More than a coming of age story, these sorts of fantasies fuel the young mind to believe that no matter how you start out, you might just turn out to be the one who wins the day.

Up front I will say that the story was entirely too short. At just over a hundred pages, it didn't give itself time to mature and let ideas percolate before jumping to the next 'twist' or plot point. I often found myself thinking 'I really wish there had been more to this' while reading. The idea of the Spirit Singers is perhaps elaborated upon the most, and given the most depth. The rest of the world, including the 'bad guys' are more broadly described.

Amarynth is a stalwart girl, eager to begin her life as a full-fledged Spirit Singer, but respectful of her grandfather's wishes. She longs for more, she has lived a sheltered life as a Spirit Singer apprentice, but her duty is the most important thing to her. Her development suffered the most I believe, as she goes from wide-eyed girl to mature Spirit Singer in the blink of an eye near the end, but she was an enjoyable lead. Her companion for half of the journey, Kalar, is a prickly fellow with a lot of bitterness and hatred in his heart, but with a strong moral code. He developed perhaps the best.

Ramon, Ar-Naathon's son, is the weakest of the characters. His mood changes, often, and he never really seems...real. Very fake. A reason is given for this, but it doesn't excuse the inconsistency completely. The villain, Ar-Naathon, is a viper and a snake and remains so throughout. Word to the wise, never trust the one who smiles and says 'I'm not the bad guy, he is!'. They usually are and worse then whoever they pointed out.

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, it was thrilling and had a lot of adventure, some romance and mystical fun for all, but as I said earlier it suffered from how short it was. Motivations, 'surprises' in the plot and explanations are cut short so they feel rushed and tacked on. If you're a fantasy fan, or you miss those adventure quests that seem to be sadly lacking in today's fantasy market, I suggest you pick up Spirit Singer. In the end, its an enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours.

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