Pat Nelson Childs
ISBN #978-0-9795912-1-1 (softcover)
Available also in hardcover and E-book
Publisher: Glynworks Publishing
I hope the author doesn’t mind a comparison. I do this because I am not really a fantasy reader and so am unsure what is more or less standard in the genre and what isn’t. I read Tolkien fifty years ago and that was it.
Orphan’s Quest is Lord of the Rings for the rest of us, especially for those who think there might have been more between Sam and Frodo than meets the eye. Orphan’s Quest is colorful, action-packed, intricately plotted, filled with vivid descriptions of places, weapons, etc. that have the combined flavor of Medieval Europe and Middle Earth.
There is a group of stalwart friends on a dangerous quest; a handsome, swashbuckling elf with magical ability and deadly aim with an arrow; an Elven city, a mysterious and malevolent evil power out to destroy the friends and, indeed, the entire world. There are noxious swamps, trees that communicate, and poisoned weapons; bizarre creatures that fly, swim, and shift shapes; hideous and deadly Harpies. There are wooden ships, arrows and swords galore, even enslavement by a race of warrior women.
Running through the narrative is a gay love story, that of the elf Flaskamper, nicknamed “Flash,” and the orphan, Rokey, who is not quite what he seems to be in the beginning. Rokey is not even quite what he, himself, thinks he is. Repeatedly, his life and the lives of his companions and his true love are threatened and, since this is the first in a trilogy, it ends with a cliffhanger. However, I hasten to add that it is also a very well done stand-alone novel, which some series books are not. I would say more about the plot, but I always try to avoid spoilers.
One of the things I, personally, found very appealing about the book is the way Childs handled the love scenes. Did Flaskamper and Rokey have sex? Yes, they did. Was it described in erotic detail? No, it wasn’t. They were written in such a way—without silly euphemisms, incidentally—that a younger reader isn’t going to be puzzled or shocked, and the reader who is old enough to know the details can use his or her imagination. I like that. Another thing that struck me as especially poignant was Childs’ invention of the appellation “samer” for homosexuals, who were accepted in Firma. Isn’t “samer” a lovely, evocative term? Much nicer than any of the words used in our world. I wish someone had thought of it a long time ago.
Though I was a tiny bit hesitant in starting the book simply because of the fantasy factor, I’m so glad I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed Orphan’s Quest. Childs is an excellent writer with an elegant use of language that I appreciate. I hope someday, when I have waded through my stack of waiting books, to read the rest of the trilogy.
Though this book is an adult story, it is also geared toward young adults. I feel that any reader who likes good writing will enjoy it, even if fantasy is not normally a reading choice. I’ve never read Harry Potter but I expect Harry Potter fans would like it.
Christmas is coming. This book would be a great gift, and to book lovers there is no better gift than a book.
Also now available: Book Two/ Scion’s Blood
Book Three / Numen’s Trust is tentatively scheduled for release in late 2009
Author’s website: www.chroniclesoffirma.com