D.M. Dutcher 's Reviews > The Legend of Witch Bane

The Legend of Witch Bane by Kevis Hendrickson
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Jul 14, 2012

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bookshelves: children-s, indie, fantasy

2.5 stars. A blend of fairy tales and epic fantasy that probably should have chosen to be one or the other.

Kodobos, Anyr, and Laris are three royal children. Their kingdom is under thrall to the evil sorceror-queen Rhiannon, who demands tribute of the kingdom in the form of ten of its youngest girls. Anya is chosen, and her rescue sets off a long chain of events that will lead to tragedy for the children and victory over the evil queen and the powers behind her.

It starts off well, as I have described above. Kevis uses a fairy-tale style of narration rather than a traditional high-fantasy one, and it works well. However, the book starts to meander very quickly from the starting idea (recovering the sword Kodobos gave to the woman who beguiled him) to a wide variety of tales. It gets a little annoying, until you realize he is using the original story as a framework to tell small stories like fairy tales rather than a tight plot around the central idea. The fairy tales actually aren't that bad, and I wished he had just gotten rid of the plot and made it a collection of them: the characters are attractive, and just hearing their feats would have worked.

However, he goes back to the epic fantasy part, and I'm not sure it works as well. There's a few weird heel-face turns, and considering these are kids under the age of 15, having them actually fight instead of using their wits doesn't feel right. There's also a big spoiler that is jarring in relation to the book's audience, and especially the chapter right after, but I can't mention it. Also, inadvertant humor with the name of the sorcerer Caldor-if you live in New England like I do, Caldor was the name of an old department store chain.

Honestly, it's too long for its own good, and while you get plenty of stories and tales, many with some good images and fine scenes, I wish it had been shorter, as the sheer length of the book combined with the standalone tales made me zone out a few times. It was also hard to get a handle on the books mythology because of that. I think if it had been a little shorter, and a collection of short tales it would have sparkled. More delineation between them rather than just one long narrative. It is a unique take on a traditional fantasy book, but check the free sample first.
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