Sunday, February 6, 2011

quirky new idea in classic fantasy novel

Every so often a fantasy novel comes along that offers lovers of the genre something new and exciting; an idea or series of ideas that don’t seem to have been thought of before.
Anna Kendall’s Crossing Over is one of these books. The central premise – a boy is able to crossover into the afterlife through the application of pain – is different enough to stand out.
Roger lives a truly wretched life, forced to use this “gift”, which he sees as being more of a curse, by supposed relatives who inflict pain on him nightly in order to get money from those missing their dead.
Finally after seemingly endless passages of despair and depression – almost enough to make one give up reading, but not quite – Roger finds himself first free of the horrible relatives and then “saved” by mysterious woman.
Eventually, of course, Roger gets himself into trouble by telling the wrong people about his skill and before he realises it he’s the pivotal point for politics in his land.
Kendall has a great turn of phrase, her pacing is a little slow at first but gets better as Roger makes his way through his world. And her descriptive passages are very good.
Roger is the sort of character that most people can related to, he’s not perfect – despite, or because of his terrible upbringing – he’s quite weak and easily manipulated.
But throughout the story you feel that he’s at least trying to do the right thing, even if he gets caught up in his own power at times.
Crossing Over is a tightly written piece of dark fantasy – it would make a great present for anyone interested in the genre but looking for something a little different.

Crossing Over by Anna Kendall is published by Orion Books and is available from good book stores and online.


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