Larriane Wills,
The Knowing
(Swimming Kangaroo, 2006)

In her first published book, Larraine Wills takes us on historical fantasy journey packed with religious fanatics and royal protocol. The story begins when a young boy barely escapes abuse in the name of religion and finds his freedom in the forest. He eventually becomes a soldier and creates a new name, Garron of Lockmar, earning a reputation that gains him the title and position of Governor of Sheritan.

When Princess Fayahstella of Ives arrives at his door seeking sanctuary from Caslock, a man trying to take over her nation, he reluctantly agrees. This starts a chaotic journey of good vs. evil, deception, corruption and a little bit of love.

My feelings on this book are mixed; I liked it for the most part, but there were elements of the story that made it impossible for me to love it. The first being "the royal voice," a high-pitched, ear-piercing squeal the princess is forced to speak with; it was very annoying to read and made me grateful I didn't have an audio version.

There was almost too much going on in this story and at times I felt the author took for granted that the reader was familiar with her imaginary world and characters, leaving me a little lost and confused every so often. Some of the male characters, including Garron, did not have definitive personalities; they went from one extreme to the other, making it hard for me to become attached to any of them.

The Knowing is a respectable debut and an enjoyable read. I think with a little polish it could have been a fantastic book. I am not ready to give up on this author and will happily read her next one.

review by
Cherise Everhard

17 November 2007

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