Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: The Riddle of the Wren

The first novel by Charles de Lint, The Riddle of the Wren (1984) follows a teenaged girl, Minda Sealy, who begins the novel suffering from a series of terrifying nightmares and after the appearance of a strange man crying for help in one of her dreams, attempts to rescue him on an adventure that takes her to many strange worlds and places.

To me, the book felt liked it borrowed a lot from both The Hobbit(1937) and The Chronicles of Narnia (1949 – 1954), as the book has much of the structure of The Hobbit and the large talking animals from The Chronicles of Narnia (although I’m sure large talking animals have been around in fiction for a long time in lots of places). What actually surprised me was (sorry for the mild thirty-year-old spoiler) the world-travelling that Minda does throughout the book, wherein she uses henges travel between various worlds on her quest to stop the book’s villain, Ildran the Dream Master.

The book feels a lot like Young Adult (YA) fiction, and the world descriptions are really fantastic – my personal favourite, Darkruin, seems to be less a fantasy setting and more one in my favourite subgenre. The story, although fairly familiar to those who have read a lot of fantasy, involves a quest, terrifying armies and some magical items.

Well worth the read, and although I wish Minda was a little more developed as a character, it left me looking forward to my next book by the author, Moonheart: A Romance.

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