Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review - "Ransom of the Healer"

In any book review, there is always the potential for some plot point or other piece of vital information to be inadvertently leaked.  I will make my best effort to leave the stones turned face down, but also recommend you proceed with caution, as you should in reading any review of a book you have not already read for yourself.  After all, your own review upon entering the shiny, untrodden world of the unknown is really the only one that truly matters.  And rest assured, oh lover of the unexplored worlds lurking on bookshelves everywhere, the world found in the Ransom Series is one well worth adventuring.  But for now, the review of this, the first novel from A.C. Autry, “Ransom of the Healer.”

The pace in the first half of the novel is slower, as the primary characters are introduced and the world is created.  The author spins the web of the story line by line, pulling the reader into an unknown, mysterious new world a little at a time, carefully not revealing too much too quickly.  You spend most of the first half gaining an understanding that there are supernatural things afoot, but without understanding the full details.  A.C. Autry’s world for the Ransom Series is not just a new spin on well-travelled landscapes.  The author takes some fundamental concepts from the rich traditions of fantastical literature, and crafts an entirely new race of beings.  The setting is modern, so the idea is that these beings are among us even now - we just don’t know it.  The story is told from a “his” and “hers” point of view, alternating between Catryn and Nathan, and seeing the world through two sets of eyes, some of which might or might not even be human, effectively builds the mystery while providing the back story needed to move into the present action. 

The second half of the book is a breakneck speed race to the finish, only to find that the finish is just setting the stage for a much larger story to be continued in the next edition.  A.C. Autry hints at many subplots throughout the book, and leaves the reader with much to wonder about and speculate on.  The true power of this book is that the characters themselves become so important to you.  Kurt Vonnegut believed that a compelling story always required at least one character for the reader to root for.  In “Ransom of the Healer” the reader will find many such characters, and they are not your stock, two dimensional archetypes either.  They each carry their own backstory, their own flaws, and their own hopes.  All of which I can’t wait to find out more about as the series unfolds.

In the world of fantasy, the Ransom series breathes fresh air into a genre overrun by vampires and werewolves, and provides we lovers of worlds beyond our own an opportunity to visit a place that just might be there, if only we could see it.  I wait with eager eyes and space on my bookshelf for the sequel to “Ransom of the Healer.”  May it find its way to print quickly!

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