Not just another fine installment in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, this book seems to mark a change of direction, setting up n...moreNot just another fine installment in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, this book seems to mark a change of direction, setting up new goals for our heroes. I love this series, but if James Owen's characters were as deep and intricate as his plots, it would be perfect. That aside, it's a great book in a great series, but absolutely not the place for new readers to start.(less)
I really enjoy James Owen's Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, and I am by no means a fan of epic fantasy. Generally, if a book comes w...moreI really enjoy James Owen's Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, and I am by no means a fan of epic fantasy. Generally, if a book comes with a map and a glossary, I'm gone, and here's a whole series about maps and glossaries! (Even if the books don't actually include them.)
What draws me in are the twisty plots and the incorporation of various world mythologies. Owen doesn't just base his fantasy lands on one particular mythology, nor does he simply mix elements of different mythologies together into one big melting pot. Instead, he makes connections between them, while still preserving their individual identities. As a result, his fantasy world becomes more complex and intricate with each new book. Whenever I read one, I find myself wanting to go back and reread the earlier books so I can see the pieces that he sets up there that pay off in the most recent story.
As a result, this isn't really a series you can jump into the middle of. Having said that, this book does provide a great deal of background information for the series, things that were only hinted at in the first two books.
If I have one criticism, it's that, even three books in, his main characters still feel fairly undeveloped. Maybe this is because, having based them on real-life authors JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Charles Williams, Owens finds himself constrained by the facts of their biographies. However, the complex stories he is telling and the world he sets them in keeps the series interesting, and I look forward to next year's installment.(less)