Debora Elizabeth Hill
& Sandra Brandenburg,
The Land of the Wand:
Vol. I of the Lost Myths Saga

(Jaqkar, 2005)

The concept is delightfully engaging. An eclectic group of vaguely hippie-esque characters find themselves transported to a parallel dimension where the mythologies of Earth began and continue. This is truly epic material and, in the hands of gifted story-smiths, is the stuff of bestsellers. A Robert Jordan or George Martin or Tamora Pierce could do virtuoso magic to the reading pleasure of us all.

Sadly, authors Debora Elizabeth Hill and Sandra Brandenburg are not in the tier of exceptional fantasists. Their self-published novel suffers mercilessly from a lack of any sort of editorial guidance. Aside from the tremendously annoying grammatical, syntactical and semantic gaffes, the style is often almost telegraphic and there's a distinct tendency to language most trite. The real killer for me, though, is the failed attempts at humor. The book refers to itself on the title page as a "fantasy-satire." Satire is never an easy form and so easily falls flat upon its wry-mouthed face. This book is an excellent example of that.

Still, the essential plot has strength and would certainly merit the rewrites and strict editing it so direly requires. I'd loved to see these authors take their work to a really fine writer's group where they would receive the rigorous criticism great writing must have.

by Stephen Richmond
6 May 2006

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