Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: The Toy Sorcerer

The Toy Sorcerer
The Toy Sorcerer by Laura Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy/Wiccan-based Reading Level: This one is difficult to define, and if younger readers are interested, they should know they will need a dictionary nearby and that there is some profanity and obscenity and quite a lot of violence. I would say readers as young as 12 might enjoy it if these things are understood, yet adults will also find a lot to enjoy.

Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy (via Smashwords) through the LibraryThing Members Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Trapped as a mortal in a dimension where human dreams become reality, Alice Towers endures a journey of unmerciful persecution and excruciating self-discovery. Guided by an extraordinary realm creature named Shammerwack, she must find Magog; a boy imprisoned for over three centuries who holds the key to her release.

Unaware that her incarceration heralds the dawn of the Final Prophecy; Armageddon, Alice is pursued by an ancient being that plagues humanity with relentless nightmares, until the world hovers on the brink of insanity and self-annihilation.

Alice’s only earthbound ally, Leona, is also an antediluvian soul who has lived and reincarnated as a human for thousands of years. As one of the Ancient Coven and practitioner of the old knowledge, Leona summons shadows to protect Alice’s slumbering body and Magog’s timeworn effigy. But Leona’s maleficent sister, Lillian, another of the ancients, is equally as determined to capture Alice; the vessel by which the Demon Lord of the Realms intends to escape the confines of his nebulous world. 

A bloody battle ensues on Earth as Lillian’s underworld demons and Leona’s defensive forces tear lives apart, whilst an increasingly insane world creeps inexorably closer to the Final Prophecy.

My Thoughts: This is book one in The Ancient Knowledge trilogy, and is written as a tribute to Alice in Wonderland. The second book is to be called The Final Prophecy; I can’t find anything for sure, but it sounds like it might be coming out this fall or winter. I should mention here that I have never read Alice in Wonderland, although the memes are well known, so I cannot really comment on parallels between the stories. However, it does not follow the same storyline and it is not as nonsensical/silly as the book to which it pays tribute, so do not go into this book expecting an homage – it is merely a tribute.

I should point out that this book uses a lot of words for which the average person will require a dictionary. I have a large vocabulary, built up over almost four decades of obsessive reading, but even I had to look up a number of the words. I know there are likely people for whom this will be a problem, but I would actively encourage readers to just keep a dictionary (preferably unabridged) handy – expanding your vocabulary is important, and reading is one of the finest ways to do so.

I was most impressed with the positive treatment of Wicca, in a very realistic sense. I don’t mean that most Wiccans can actually do the sorts of magic that Leona does, but I mean realistic in the sense that is correctly expands upon the beliefs in the circle of life and balance that is the standard structure of the Wiccan ideology. The book also makes clear that power and magic are neither good nor evil – they simply are. The only law in Wiccan is given: Do as thou wilt an it harm none.

I was surprised at one point by the mention of a Funnel web spider being aggressive, and linked to a Black Widow; the reason being that Funnel Weavers (which I assume are the same thing) are ubiquitous here. We have a large number living here in the duplex, and I have never thought them to be particularly aggressive – large, yes, they can become quite large! I saw one that I thought was a tarantula at first glance. But they don’t seem any more aggressive than any other house spider, and I’ve never – to my knowledge – been bitten by one. They’re quite beneficial, actually, which is why I encourage them in the house.

Many reviewers have stated that this is an epic fantasy, and I agree with that. My Nook version is over 400 pages, and the story is intricate but easily followed. While I enjoyed the story, it did not absorb me like a story I truly love does, so I have rated it at 4 stars. The editing is good – there are some errors, but they are not rife, and with the high-level vocabulary used, it could not have been easy to edit. I know that many fans of fantasy will enjoy this book.

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