|I have to admit that I found this book easy to start
but it was not so easy to finish. There were a number of problems that gradually became
more and more annoying. First, it became apparent that contrary to expectation, this was
not a stand-alone fantasy, but the first of a series. Note to publishers
this kind of thing on the cover! Second was the authors peculiar use of certain
words, "peculiar" being one of them, and "geas" another. A
"geas" is a mystical obligation, a kind of curse or doom, from the Irish
"geis". It has nothing whatsoever to do with "Gaea", the Greek
goddess of the Earth, so why does Dalton insist on calling his version of "Gaea"
the "Geas"? More aggravating still was the New Ageist subtext. The idea of
"old gods = good", "new religion = bad" is not only historically
simplistic, it has been done way too often and getting so far past old, its stale.
plot was simple enough, too. A young boy, Jillan, discovers he has powerful magic by
accidentally killing a bully, gathers a motley bunch of off-siders and ends up defeating
great evil, in the form of the local representative of the "Saviours", the
grossly nasty and vampiric "Saint" Azual. In the process Jillan somehow goes
from being a boy to a teen spouting wisdom far beyond his years. Not what I call credible
According to Daltons website, he is endeavouring to invent a "new"
sub-genre he calls "metaphysical fantasy". Its apparent that he cares
little for the history of the fantasy genre, which was born out of a desire to tell
stories that could not be told in any other way, and is inherently metaphysical. There is
absolutely nothing new about dialectic in fantasy its there in Tolkien,
Lewis, and Williams. But the story should be paramount, the philosophising secondary.
Other reviews suggest that some people actually like their fantasy burdened with a heavy
dose of quasi-religious pontification but believe you me, I dont.