Richards has a great story telling ability. He used his skills and knowledge to great advantage in telling a tale that moves at a wonderful speed whilst still taking the time to delve into various ideas and ideals. The two main characters were relatable and Richards was able to develop very different characteristics within them whilst still being able to emphasize that they were all admirable and useful. This story is a great example of speculative fiction with a bit of thriller and action thrown in.
I found this an enjoyable romp through a traditional fantasy tale. We had elves, assassins, knights and magicians plus an interesting squire who added a bit of humour to the story. There is a depth to the story if you were willing to look for it but it is also very easy to skim along the surface and come out the end very happily and move on. I found this story stimulating and fun to read.
As soon as I started reading this book I found it very hard to put down. I absolutely loved the way Cassandra, the main character, wrote her journal. I could relate to her hopes and dreams of finding a way home but also the utter urgency of survival, especially early on in the story. The themes of transition and finding out who you are under adversity gently flowed through the book. The supporting characters were well written and I will be interested to see how they are fleshed out in the sequel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing other stories written by Andrea Host.
The main theme of this second book in the trilogy was 'change and transition'. There is the physical journey from the Strand to the Interior where Williams explores the beach through to desert landscapes. He gently inserts Australian fauna into the mix the way you see bears and deer in other novels set nominally in American or European inspired landscapes.There is the transition from child to young adult. The main characters develop in the physical areas by going through the typical changes of getting menses and voice breaking. This just emphasises the emotional and psychological growth that occurs.The most interesting theme, though, that is examined is that of reputation. How it affects people by how they are perceived and how they think they are perceived. It examines to what lengths people will go to to ensure that their reputation is maintained. Williams uses his characters to tell stories to show the emphasis of what power reputation can have on people.I found this book very powerful and an enjoyable read. Sean Williams has a great talent of being able to immerse the reader in the world he has created.
I really enjoyed this first book in the trilogy. The Australian background was an interesting setting that drew in the reader. It is an interesting study in the themes of family relationships, coming of age and also how your values can be challenged at the drop of a hat.