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Monday, March 8, 2010

Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Thyme in a Flask By Glen Quarry
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Glen Quarry’s Thyme in a Flask is the story of a young man thrust into the role of hero in a parallel world.

Jon Chandler is an ordinary seventeen-year-old guy living a pretty ordinary existence.

But things become extremely extraordinary when Jon is forced to take on the difficult task of locating a magical flask and finding his way back home.

Joined by the confident and beautiful Dorthea (who challenges him constantly) and his best friend, Samuel, an eight-foot, 480 pound gentle giant, this threesome is in for the adventure of their lives.

Propelled into a strange, parallel world where things aren’t always what they seem, Jon and his comrades must solve a series of riddles in order to locate the flask and return safely home. Few people have ever explored this world inhabited by powerful demons and wizards. Jon, Dorthea and Samuel’s strength, mental acuity, and emotions will be tested to the limits. The love/hate relationship between Jon and Dorthea simmers constantly, threatening to dismantle their precarious hold on reality and jeopardize their quest to locate the flask and find their way home.

What they’ll learn about themselves and about life will prove to be far more priceless than a magical flask.

Glen Quarry has written an enchanting and amusing story with intricate twists and turns. Fantasy fans will eagerly anticipate the sequels to this author’s timeless story of good versus evil.

An engaging narrative opens Thyme in a Flask, with the aura of the old-time fairy tale. Indeed even the time it is set in is fairytale-ish, being sometime long ago, one presumes from the medieval sense of things.

But then time is the issue. At the start, Princess Joanna discovers her father, King of the magical land of Elisinor has the power to travel out of time. We soon discover the magic flask with the power to stop time is in the hands of none other than the father of Smithy apprentice Jon Chandler, who is very far from what he seems, and far more than even he suspects.

It takes a while – and several more chapters – to sort out the danger to the good land and all its people, as well as the amazing cast of characters that will stand up for their home. First is young Jon, along with Dorothea and a friendly giant. Tensions between various characters are well-established through dialogue, and very believable. As they are all driven by good – we trust they will see eye to eye eventually. They must flee their home world and struggle through a puzzling maze in a world utterly unfamiliar. For the readers, sorting the people and events is a slow process, but very worthwhile. This is not a book to rush through, but to savor, consider, and read back through.

There is not the faintest bit of predictability in this work. The utterly original world and plot make this an engaging read, while the style encourages one to slow down, consider, and enjoy the intricacies. Certain characters are standouts, as of course is main character Jon: smithy apprentice, and more, as there is more about him than meets the eye…especially if he doesn’t want you to see.

The narrative style is rich in description, revisits back-story, contemplates feelings and emotions, and somehow it all wends together to maintain that magical tone established at the outset. It indulges in lengthy explanations, but they are magically engaging.

This is not fast-paced, but for select spaces. It is rather an old fashioned read; comfortable, charming, and it begs to be read aloud. Children will love this – but one not need be a child to enjoy it.

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