Grace's Reviews > Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale by Mark Anthony
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Apr 11, 12

bookshelves: fiction, for-fun, fantasy
Read from March 08 to April 11, 2012

Beyond the Pale is one of the first fantasy books I've read in a long while. I found that it was quite interesting of the author to start out in modern day Colorado and shift to a different, world called Eldh. While I can't pronounce the name of the world, Anthony does a pretty good job of describing how it is similar, yet different to our familiar Earth and making the reader feel connected to this place.

Characters
The story itself also had intrinsic features of a fantasy novel. Travelling bards, gods, fairies, knights, heroes and some pretty awesome villains. The heroes are from Colorado and Eldh alike. The heroes from Colorado, quite naturally, are somewhat awkward in character. Grace is a nurse and orphan, thus has some emotional baggage with her to deal with along her journey. Travis, a saloonkeeper, has more than a few self esteem issues and a bad case of guilty consciousness that he deals with along the way to confront the evil before him.

The rest of the heroes are more secondary cast characters that help these two along. A bard, a mage, a pair of knights, and a baroness all make up the cast of good guys set to fight against the villains. I can't really say much about them as there was not much character development amongst the secondary characters, but it isn't like they are totally forgettable either.

The villains are somewhat unique to me, but also familiar. It seems as if many of the twisted creatures he describes, such as feydrim and wraithlings, are a subtle change from familiar fairy tales. However, I've not come across bad guys with lumps of iron in place of their hearts. These villains are led by "The Pale King", which we never meet in this book.

Story
Now, as for the bases of the storyline,it's pretty familiar. Evil is trying to break out of the eternal jail cast around them a millennium or more ago, and the people of today have totally forgotten the perils of this time. Along comes the bard to ruin their day, start the novel, and provide the hook and line to drag the reader along. I do mean drag as the beginning of the book was quite slow until the bard shows up to start explaining things here and there. Really, the reader doesn't get the full idea of what is going on (and hence why you should read the book) until about the middle. It's only then you find out how evil is bursting it's seems and trying to get into the world.

Once you get to that point in the middle, though, it's a really good story with a quick pace. There is just enough mystery to keep you guessing, but just enough action to keep you reading.

Thoughts
It's not a good idea to keep the reader hanging and wondering what's the story line until the middle. It took me a long time to get to that point, which is not a way to get reader to keep reading.

Anthony does do a good job in creating a new world with some "new" things. He does this by describing these things in familiar way, and saying something like "the trees are like aspens, but not quite" and then going on to describe how they were different and using the names often enough to remember.
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03/08/2012 page 276
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