|Submitted by Dan Lindsay |
(Oct 13, 2005)
Red Moon and Black Mountain is perhaps the richest, most thoroughly realized, creation of another world that I have ever read. Not Tolkien, not C. S. Lewis, not Peter Beagle, not Robert Heinlein, has surpassed Chant's depth of creation.
This could have been a wonderful adventure story of three children spirited away into an alien world by supernatural beings in order to defeat a terrible villain -- and nothing more. Instead, Chant creates several cultures and displays them in depth, making them as real to the reader as they are to the three children who are dropped into them, each having a key role to play in the drama. Yet there is nothing dry or scholarly about this book; it is a gripping exciting tale, with delightfully lifelike characters, marvelous descriptions, and a plotline both intricate and clear.
As characters and cultures flow across the page, the reader understands that, like our own world, this place has millions of stories to be told. I was ready by about page 5 for there to be sequels, side stories, other ventures into this wonderfully varied magical world. Much to my regret, Chant has written only two other books about the world of Red Moon and Black Mountain: The Grey Mane of Morning and When Voiha Wakes.
In short, this is a book which can be read many times, and on many levels. I highly recommend it for any fantasy reader beyond the age of 12. (For younger kids, many of the motivations and conflicts the characters experience will be too obscure for the book to be enjoyable.) Red Moon and Black Mountain deserves to be considered one of the very few truly great fantasy novels.