“The Shock of Night” Book Review Day 2
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
For me, the strength of a good fantasy tale lies in the ability to take me away from the mundane nature of everyday reality. Who wouldn’t want to fly through the air on a broomstick and play Quidditch? Or, cast a spell with a few choice words and teleport fro one place to another? As attractive as these prospects are the story loses its relevance if it is not rooted in reality. Without a foundation in what is NOT possible in our reality, we would not appreciate being able to experience the IMPOSSIBLE.
Patrick W. Carr creates a very viable, realistic alternate reality with the elements of the church as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. In a telling scene in “The Shock of Night”, the main character, Lord Dura is summoned to his king’s chambers. Being the king’s personal “reeve” he has unfettered access to the king. But, to his surprise, King Laidir is surrounded by representatives of two of the church’s factions. In a shocking development, the King is instructed to stop Lord Dura from investigating the murder of Elwin, an elderly Servant killed at the beginning of the novel. How can the church exercise this kind of control over a king? Is this a realistic development? Patrick W. Carr does a masterful job of creating a reality in which the church can exercise this kind of power. It is not unprecedented and our own history demonstrates the power of the Church to dictate how a ruler should conduct the state’s business. As the story progresses, the reader is drawn into this conflict and it is believable.
How about Aer’s “gifts”. Suppose in our reality, one could read another person’s mind merely by touching them? We’ve seen this kind of device used in many fantasy and science fiction novels. It is not an unusual device. But, in “The Shock of Night”, Lord Dura receives such a gift. Patrick W. Carr slowly introduces the reader to the “shock” of the reality of having this kind of gift. Rather than making such a gift sound like a wonderful skill, we see the power of such a gift and the drawbacks. In painstaking detail, Lord Dura is pulled into the power of his gift and not only is devastated by its strangeness, but is also damaged by the depth of the memories he does not expect to accompany such a gift. The reality of the double edge sword of such a gift is deftly demonstrated.
The beauty of a well told story is the correspondence of the story with enough of our own reality to give us relevance as readers and at the same time, create an alternate reality that is believable and sustained by the author. Patrick W. Carr has done this in a powerful and immersive tale that builds and builds toward a powerful face off between the forces of good and evil.
Tomorrow, I will finish my review and tie all of this together with a discussion of coherence.
Thomas Clayton Booher
Carol Bruce Collett
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
If you are looking for great Christmas presents, there are four books now in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel and can be ordered from this website. If you know someone suffering from depression at this time of the year check out my book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” at conquering depression.com.