|Submitted by Christopher Ware|
(May 15, 2001)
(Journeys of the Catechist, Book 2)I was really worried after reading the first chapter of this book. It introduces us to the villain of the story. After only getting a brief glimpse of him in the first book, he gets an entire chapter devoted to him here. It was awful. Foster has created one of the most cliched antagonists I have ever seen. Combine all of the cheesy elements from various sci-fi and fantasy villains and you get Foster's creation. Ugh. Fortunately, not much time was spent here. If the tone of the book had been set by that first chapter, then I would have given it only two stars. This was most definitely not the case. We still see the plot device from the first book of Etjole encountering obstacle after obstacle and defeating each with something given to him by a person from his village. This is getting tedious. The book would have received only three stars if this had again been the thrust of the book. Luckily, Foster has begun to dig deeper into the supporting characters and giving them a life of their own. Their interrelationships were also delved into a bit more. My one complaint in this regard is that the characters are very static. For example, at one point, Simna gets an undisguised glimpse into his soul, but it does nothing to change his personality. Why? It is very frustrating to follow characters through several hundred pages of adventure and have them not change a bit. I guess the reason I gave this book four stars instead of three was that, after about the halfway point, I found it difficult to put down. I was enjoying the story way too much. It is also very different from most other fantasies on the shelves today; different themes, different types of characters, and different locales. All add up to a fun journey through an interesting world. I couldn't help but enjoy myself.