Jofil Angelo Agrupis Angelo Agrupis itibaren Tyshkivka, Kirovohrads'ka oblast, Ukrayna
First, I must confess that my taste in fantasy is limited. This has resulted in my getting through perhaps the first three or four chapters of a book before placing it back on the shelf to be forgotten. There are many, many books on that shelf. Once in a while, though, I find one that I can truly enjoy. Those books are placed on a different shelf; the one that holds my Tolkien collection, my copies of `Watership Down,' `Wind in the Willows,' and `The Complete Calvin and Hobbes' (my book collection is not very well organized). `The Legend of Witch Bane' is presently sitting on my chair-side table, and I have just completed it. As a lover of the Classics, I must say that I haven't enjoyed a YA book so much since `The Hobbit.' The author, Kevis Hendrickson, has not only mastered the narrative style of writing (which I most enjoy), he has recalled the gems of the `Age of Story-telling.' At times, `Legend' reads like a favorite fairy tale, at times it feels more like classic mythology, but it is always told TO the reader. I believe that's what I like the most about it. I can hear Mr. Hendrickson's `voice' throughout. This is a wonderful book for older children. It is also a wonderful book for adults who enjoy a gentle, yet intriguing tale. Now...lest you be thinking that `Legend' concerns bunnies and warm, fuzzy things, I will correct you on that point. There are definite dark elements, beginning with the very first chapter, and they are well developed. There is heart-wrenching conflict, betrayal, and despair. There is not, however, the jolting, screaming violence characteristic of many works of modern fantasy. The world of the Northern Realm is beautiful and well-imagined, peopled with entertaining and believable fantasy creatures (some of which you may `recognize' from your favorite childhood tales). The illustrations are a delight. There is whimsy and gentle humor to temper the treachery and self-serving nature of Evil Queen Rhiannon, who is a very frightening presence. Ultimately, this is a story about the power of love. There is a definite art to story-telling. One must hold the reader's interest, but if a story is too fast-paced, it cannot be savored. Characters must be real, believable, and identifiable...and, it helps if at least some of them are loveable, especially in a YA book. Descriptions must be effective; not too lengthy, but sufficient to place the reader in the scene. `Legend' is a thumbs-up on all points. It is not a difficult read, an asset in a book aimed at younger readers. I plan to read it to my six-year-old godchild. If you prefer a book that reads like a screenplay with punchy, `modern' dialogue, you might not like this one. If you can open your mind and recall your favorite tales, the ones you loved of old, then you'll have a very pleasant experience curling up with this book. If you're like me, and love the Classics, you'll be enthralled. `Legend' is well written, and that is crucial to its effectiveness, but what makes it a true stand-out is that it's a tale well told. Mr. Hendrickson, you are a bard!