Amelia, the pragmatic idealist's Reviews > Child of the Dark Prophecy

Child of the Dark Prophecy by T.A. Barron
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's review
Jan 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: series-books, ya-kids-teen, 2010, loveable-love-story, all-kinds-of-fantasy, best-characters-ever, point-of-view-guy
Read from February 18 to 21, 2010

This book was just extraordinary – a great start to what I am confident will be an excellent series! T.A. Barron’s prose is absolutely beautiful – somewhat lofty, but more along the lines of elegant and occasionally didactic. He is still a “modern author” and you can see differences between his style and say, the 50s-60s style of C.S. Lewis or Lloyd Alexander, but he’s pretty close. I’d say Barron and maybe Clare Dunkle come the closest to emulating that style. In other words, his writing is a long, far cry from “text speech"!

- All his characters are beautifully crafted and well-rounded. The central figure, to be sure, is a young wilderness wanderer named Tamwyn, whose hidden identity is the key to a prophecy made years ago. What I like about the Avalon series – and was kind of surprised to discover – is the really large ensemble cast of characters and how big of a role they play. I was totally expecting the story to revolve almost exclusively around Tamwyn and the search for his true identity, but the perspective follows several other characters, including Scree, his adopted eagleboy brother; Elli, a fiery priestess with a sketchy past; a haughty seer-in-training named Llynia who believes herself to be the next Chosen One (note: there’s always a bloody Chosen One! Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Anakin Skywalker…); a captured elf maiden named Brionna, and the nefarious villain of the book, a mysterious wizard known only as White Hands.

- What I like about Barron, though, is how clearly defined each perspective shift is – it’s mostly switched over on a chapter-by-chapter basis, so there’s no confusion.

- The only frown-worthy thing about the book has to do with the designated Prophecy (note: there’s always a bloody prophecy!). I couldn’t really understand why everybody – the other characters and myself, the reader – could figure out what the prophecy was saying but our sweet, adorable little MC Tamwyn couldn’t! It’s like, “hello, Mcfly!” (Back to the Future, anyone?) But oh well.

- The number one Must, though, about writing fantasy – at least in my opinion – is Make It Believable! It’s like a deal that the reader and author enter into – in exchange for the reader’s initial suspension of disbelief, the author needs to provide a clearly-defined and clearly-written world that comes alive through the story. Barron totally succeeded. And the idea of Avalon is particularly creative: the entire world – seven realms – all stems from one Great Tree…named Avalon. Each of the seven realms: Mudroot, Woodroot, Stoneroot, Airroot, Shadowroot, Waterroot, and Fireroot, are all roots of the Great Tree. That’s an awesome concept, once you wrap your mind around it! And everything is so vivid and described in such wondrous detail, you can easily visualize this world and believe in its existence.

- I will say that the story develops at a pretty steady pace. Not a slow pace, mind you, but it’s about pg 150 before the true plot begins to unravel. That’s okay, I think, because Barron budgets his time wisely by going ahead and setting up the world of Avalon and its history; so many authors ignore detail and leave you feeling confused or hollow about this fantasy world…he reminds me a lot of Tolkien in the way he includes the history and the art/literature of his world. It’s even more incredible when you remind yourself that everything – every song, every story – is entirely made up. Wow!

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Reading Progress

02/18/2010 "I have heard SO MANY good things about this series!! Can't wait to start :D" 2 comments
02/19/2010 page 115
26.5% "AMAZING so far!!!
*does the happy dance**"
02/20/2010 page 193
44.47% "AMAZING so far!!!
*does the happy dance**"
01/31/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by I am Bastet (new) - added it

I am Bastet Because of your review and reaction to this book, I'm definitely going to have to get it and read it asap. :)

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist YAY! I'm totally not tooting my enormous horn, but this series is WONDERFUL!

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