Friday, 7 June 2013

Review: A Bad Spell in Yurt

A Bad Spell in Yurt
A Bad Spell in Yurt by C. Dale Brittain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend put me onto this one when we were talking about magical telephones (as you do). She said it was funny and a good read, so I gave it a shot.

She was right. It also has a protagonist who starts out as a slacker and a poser, but turns out overall to be a decent, good-hearted person, a promising wizard, and a hero.

Despite everything about it signalling "fantasy" (which it is), it's also a mystery novel. The wizard has to figure out the source of the evil magic that's threatened the king's life and brought down a dragon on the castle, and then do something about it. Along the way we meet a number of enjoyable characters, most of them fairly one-note, but it's an appealing note.

The setting is odd. It's medieval-style, but there are the aforementioned magical telephones. Also, unlike most fantasy settings, the religion is not paganism-lite but Christianity. It's not notably medieval in its features, reminding me more of modern Anglicanism than medieval Catholicism, but it is treated with respect, and the chaplain, whom the wizard befriends, is clearly a good and pious man - fortunately for several of the characters, whose lives are saved by his prayers.

The cover shows an incident that doesn't occur in the book. Nothing remotely like it occurs in the book, either.

There are just a couple of editing glitches, but the OCR, if that's what was used to transfer it to ebook format, is well done. I spotted the word "looked" where it should have been "locked", which could be either an original typo or an uncaught OCR error, and "revery" as a misspelling of "reverie". There was a small continuity error where the first-person narrator talks about the "number" of the school telephone, when it's been previously established that the telephones work by speaking the name of the person or place you want to communicate with. Otherwise, the editing is at a good standard, and the text reads smoothly. Unfortunately, though, the ebook isn't divided into chapters.

This is the first of a series, and I'm planning to work my way through them slowly. I say "slowly" because they're priced a little higher than I usually like my ebooks, especially given that they're short. On the other hand, decent professional editing is probably worth a couple of dollars to me.

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