The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

REVIEW: Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe

We haven't heard from James M. Ward in quite a while. He was responsible for several successful Dungeons & Dragons tie-in novels based on computer games, and he's done a few other things, but to the best of my knowledge, this is his first non-licensed fantasy novel.

Set in an environment remarkably like the Horatio Horblower series with the addition of magic, Halcyon Blithe is a young man on his first tour of duty with the Arcanian navy. He meets characters that are right out of the catalog, and there really is not plot as much as a series of short adventures culminating in a novella at the end. It really isn't a well-constructed book.

And yet I enjoyed it. Ward's style is light and reads easily. There isn't much to think about, because this is a textbook light fantasy. I think the main failing in the book isn't in the writing but in the marketing. If this were marketed for Young Adults instead of older fantasy fans who like their fantasies epic and abounding with purple prose, it would be making a much bigger impact on the market than it has so far.

Even so, Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe is a fun little fantasy adventure, and I look forward to reading more if this book is followed up.

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