The Mendini Canticle (Dr Sigmundus Trilogy) by Brian Keaney
|The Mendini Canticle (Dr Sigmundus Trilogy) by Brian Keaney|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A teen fantasy that would appear less commercial than some ("what's a canticle, Dad?") but gathers no little momentum as it scatters its concerns across a wide-ranging and entertaining world.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: May 2009|
In this fantasy world, the nasty king is dead, but that does not mean things are going well for the resistance fighters we are interested in - for what they immediately see is their guiding light replace him, and appear to be even worse. Meanwhile, in the country next door, another young hero is wondering how his best friend has disappeared. He encounters a passing mystical, elder man with token white hair, who explains it is down to magic - but they see the rest of the friend's family being taken by the military.
Yes, we are in book three, closure-of-a-trilogy territory, but the usual problems this raises to those coming to the series here are perhaps not such an evident problem. The book covers so many scenarios - other worlds, realities and more, in its 200 pages, ranging from slave camps to a singular parliament of birds, that the slight discomfort of dropping into an established fantasy realm is not going to divert our attentions much.
This is one of those fantasy titles whose success relies on the author's control of his disparate elements. Certainly that is what will divide the audience of this book the most, I feel. Is there too much going on, or is Mr Keaney correct to scatter us around these worlds with his copious twists, mysteries and more?
At least, to this book's credit, we have an incredibly vivid style, with the characters all coming to us most clearly, that which is secret from them building up strongly, and the turns of the story from strand to strand crisply evident. The book is helped by it boiling down to a simple (huh! perhaps not SO simple) find-your-destiny-and-follow-it quest story, with added layers aplenty.
For me, I would have preferred a little more coherence, but with the daring of this author and his control over his more unusual decisions, comes a distinctive teen fantasy title. Or, for the passing adult, a very brisk and quick genre book, for a change from all those stolid, lumpen, 1000+pp efforts. The Mendini Canticle proves a huge imagination is being served by a more than reasonable writing skill, and however varied the contents are, they are generally much more hit than miss.
I must thank the kind Orchard Books people for our review copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Mendini Canticle (Dr Sigmundus Trilogy) by Brian Keaney at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Mendini Canticle (Dr Sigmundus Trilogy) by Brian Keaney at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.