It is one thing to imagine a world outside of our own, peopled with figures similar to us, with dragons and princesses, knights and warlords, and quite another to create that world for other people. What we have in our inner thoughts can often not be translated into an imaginable world for those who do not see inside our minds, who do not have the same feelings, emotions, visions as we do. To create a world previously unknown to anyone else, to populate it, to bring it to life requires not only a great deal of writing skill, but also the ability to recognize how much needs to be written to capture a reader, and how much can be left to their imagination.
The storyline is not always enough. A writer can create a world through a story with simplicity which draws the reader inside, doesn’t overburden them with descriptions, with long-winded explanations on how everything works, how everything fits together to form a whole. Much has to be taken for granted and the story needs to flow easily across the page as if it is the most natural thing in the world, as if what we, the reader, are experiencing is nothing unusual but for the fact that it is somewhere else, in a world we shall never have the chance to visit, which is purely on the printed page of a book held in our hands.
Photo Credit: AlicePopkorn – Creative Commons
Katrina Sisowath has tried to create such a world, one where dragons are coupled with their masters and mistresses from birth, where the good encounters evil, where visions, gods priests and the lure of magic are everyday, are part of the very fabric of civilization. And the storyline is good, it has everything which a good fantasy novel requires to attract, to enthrall, to make the reader wonder and enjoy but the storyline isn’t everything.
This work is not easy to read. The simplicity is missing, lost within a mass of description of buildings, of constant movement from one event to another. At times the reader can become lost, or simply overwhelmed by the description of a temple where the most important factor should be the events within its walls. At times it seems as if the writer has used a thesaurus to enhance, replacing everyday words with ones far more obscure which cause a certain uneasiness, an unevenness in the telling. There is also unnecessary repetition, not of description but of words and phrases, sometimes within the same sentence and, sadly, also sections where the reader becomes completely lost where words are missing, where a proofreader or editor has not taken note, not corrected the manuscript and the sentence itself makes little or no sense. There is also the feeling, whilst reading, that the main characters, introduced at the beginning of this tale, are given less than enough attention, that their personalities do not manage to surface, to build a picture within the mind of the reader, capture their interest, their sympathy.
Katrina Sisowath has managed to create a work which could fire up the imagination, could draw the reader into a new world, open new territory, but it still needs a good deal of attention to make it work effectively. And, above all, a return to simplicity, to everyday language with a concentration more on the main one or two characters, and less on walls of marble adorned with golden trimmings.
Published by 5 Prince Publishing. ISBN 978 1 63112 053 4.
- Viktoria Michaelis.