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HEART OF HAUDEN

For Fantasy Fans

By G.S. Williams, author of The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

Jun 30, 2010: Fantasy stories can be epic. Virtually anything is possible since authors aren’t confined by the laws of physics as we know them, so you can have magic wizards, huge beasts, talking mirrors, or wicked witches.

The scope of fantasy in literature is almost as ambitious as the imaginative possibilities. J.R.R. Tolkien created entire languages and histories as a backdrop for the Lord of the Rings, and barely scratched the surface of the world in his mind. C.S. Lewis created a world of his own, too, but used it to create rich allegories based on Biblical stories, linking his lion Aslan with Christ. DragonLance and Forbidden Realms stories had various authors playing in vast, comprehensive worlds.

As a reader, I can appreciate creative imaginations. As a student of literature, I appreciate structure and elegance in prose. "Heart of Hauden" has evidence of creativity, as the author seems to have put a lot of thought into the history, languages and cultures of his story.

However, there’s something lacking, that almost indefinable "oomph" that makes a story gripping. The narrative shifts between first person and third, following a particular character and then an omniscient position. I find the shifts unnecessary, as both are a little dry and impersonal, the historical tone making it hard to care for characters, or even to get a sense of action and urgency.

I think the story needs an emotional focus, something to make me care about what happens next. I don’t know if making the narrative all from one voice would help, but it would seem less arbitrary and unnecessary.

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