Kerry Schafer's debut fantasy novel, Between has the potential to bridge the non-fantasy reader to this genre.
Fantasy readers know exactly what they're getting into: a vivid world, full of imagination, creativity and a whirlwind of action, romance and betrayals.
Non-fantasy readers are okay with all of that, but the common complaint goes something like this: "Fantasy novels are long and start slow. I need a map to follow the story. I need a decoder ring to follow the powers of each character and a family tree to track the kings, the goblins, etc etc etc."
There is some truth to that. Fantasy novels are longer because one of the main characters in the story is the story world. If done well, the world will be unique and by definition, the author will have to explain the rules of the new world.
Aspiring Fantasy novelists will do well to study Between. The story starts fast. The characters are rendered completely but throughout the novel. The back story is kept in the back, but the threads that we need to understand come at you in a clean concise way. The world is developed in a digestible manner. You are not given a straw and asked to drink from the fire-hydrant.
The story is creative, deep. The characters are powerful and beautifully flawed. The world is rich and vibrant and the enemy formidable.
Not all is great, I am saddened to say. The story is a trilogy, which means that I have to wait forever to read part II, much less Part III. The waiting is not good, but what awaits in the next installments is sure to be beautifully crafted.
Finally, a word on the book cover. Having a face on the cover is always tricky. The reader's imagination is seldom the same as the publisher's. Without the context of the story and the main character, an objective person would say that the book cover is pretty. But as you read the novel, the cover converts to perfection.
I highly recommend Between, by Kerry Schafer.
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Official launch, Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2013.
Fight the good fight!