Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Fantastic Fantasy - Better than Harry Potter? My opinion--Yes!

Steering wheel in wood for older large sailing...Image via Wikipedia
Mark hung on the wheel as if he were part of the ship...

The Snowmelt River

By Frank P. Ryan

I simply cannot begin to give you an adequate overview of The Snowmelt River! It is, for me, undoubtedly the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read. From the front cover, which was beautifully created by Mark Salwowski , through to the back, Frank P. Ryan has created an epic adventure that just does not stop! The New York Times acclaimed the book “Book of the Year.” Better yet, this is the first of a 4-novel series, each completely different but with the same characters. Frankly, it is hard to believe that there could be more after the first—it is that expansive in the storylines.

The Snowmelt River: Snowmelt River Pt. 1 (Three Powers)And then there are the characters! The four children range from 17 down to 11 as the story starts. Each has become an orphan either early or later in life. I think it is fair to say that Alan Duval is the main character in this first book, although each of the children is amazingly spotlighted. Duval is the only American; having lost his parents just recently, he has been living with his grandfather, Padraig, who is an early but important character, who has the necessary knowledge to help the children...

Help them? Yes, for each of them have been having dreams and hearing a voice calling from far away. Through Padraig’s guidance, they begin to see that it is their destiny to follow and find that voice.

Kathleen Shaunessy had been Alan’s first friend when he arrived at his grandfather’s home and they soon became closer. Mark and Mo Grimstone are the other two children, who had been adopted, were not really from the same family and hated their stepparents—let’s just say readers will too, but I have a feeling their parents are going to be back, even after Alan, Kate, and Padraig helped them escape!

Without telling any of the details, soon the four are in a different world and when they wake up they meet Granny Dew...This is one cool lady, or at least I think she is a lady; I’ll just add, think spiders...

Immediately Granny Dew forces them to eat something so “icky” that they couldn’t help but gag... The three older children were given crystals, Alan received one that was pushed into his forehead—he’d had a birthmark that was covered thereafter! Mo, the youngest was not given a crystal. Strangely, Granny Dew gathered her into her arms, as if she was a baby, and cuddled her as if she were cherished...

But Granny Dew was just getting them ready...

Dressed in similar clothing as Granny Dew (think spiders again) they set out and next found themselves coming toward a village with bear-like people (you’ll find out just how closely they resemble that animal). Soon Alan realized that his crystal allowed him to immediately understand their language. He learned much from their Shaman and soon discovered they had been expected. In fact they were seen as the saviors of his people. Alan was soon deemed to be Mage Lord! Of course, not all of the people believed they should follow the guidance of the Mage Lord, especially Snakoil Kawkaw—I’m including his name because he is one of the lead “bad guys” and will continue far into the book. However, for now, he is defeated and soon it is decided that in order to be saved, the people would have to flee from their homes.

One of the very cool non-human characters is the Temple Ship, shown on the front cover. The ship was just as the name implied, it was the place of worship and had been there since before any of those alive now had lived; it was deteriorated and not seaworthy, and it was felt that they would have to use just their smaller fishing craft in order to leave. However, Alan received a message that they were to take the ship. In faith they were to proceed to use it and Alan would be the captain. Actually, Mark became most intimately involved and learned to love the ship; he was at the wheel most of the time, at one time in an amazing way! In fact, soon it appeared he was giving life back to the ship—for as they proceeded to set sail, the old parts and the body were renewed, new sails formed! That’s my one big example of the magic that is happening throughout this book—too much and too cool to share outside of the storyline as it actually occurs!

And I haven’t even introduced you to the Shee (an all-female culture, think big cats), the Storm Wolves, Shikarr, the villains, or who it was who called the four into this world! Readers, adventure, magic, fantasy and so much more await you in Frank P. Ryan’s The Snowmelt River! Some of the magic is downright wonderfully scary! Some of the beauty of the characters as they fight for their rights is eloquent in presentation.

And wait until you hear the Song of the River! This book is a powerful, outstanding book, dare I say far superior to Harry Potter? It’s true, in my opinion! Movies? I’m not sure...they’d have to create 3-4 movies to cover each book adequately, again, in my opinion. For me, books are the way to go to get the full hair-raising impact of this masterpiece of fantasy! I’m already looking forward to the next book and that doesn’t happen often for me. Given my age, I’d have to say the book is suitable for ages 9 to 99! A must-read for Fantasy Lovers. Will make a wonderful holiday gift!

Book Provided Via
Author’s Den

G. A. Bixler

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