I recently discovered a series of books by an author I had never heard of – Christopher Stasheff. My initial thoughts were that I would be reading some Tolkien fan-boy book from a couple of years ago. However, I was happily surprised to find that not only is this book the first in a series spanning a many years, but that it came out in the 1980’s and the author was born in the 1940’s – things were looking up a bit at this point so I gave it a whirl. I finished this book yesterday and was not disappointed.
The series is called Wizard In Rhyme, the first book is titled Majesty’s Wizard. To be honest, I do think I can be forgiven for being a bit apprehensive and expecting some clichéd cheese with titles like that. Especially when the other series’ by the same author (of which there are, thankfully, plenty) are named with similar flare – .
However…. I was impressed. The first couple of pages worth of text seemed like it was going to live up to expectations. But, where other authors would needlessly draw out an introduction, Professor Stasheff drops us straight into the action.
I don’t want to spoil any storyline so will say this – Stasheff makes an interesting but still standard aspect on the whole wizardy/lotr/etc type of thing. The lore is very standard but with American college student Matt, the hero, being from the ‘normal’ (ie, our) world and getting transported to this alternate universe where he has wizardy powers. This makes for a nice and interesting twist on the usual fare and you want to know what happens to Matt and wonder throughout if he is going to end up going home. Knowing that this is the first in a series you know he wont just wake up from a dream and it’s all over at the end of the book, but you still wonder where it is going to take him.
The action scenes, mainly good vs evil battles, on a par with Tolkien/etc style storylines, are fast paced and well written. The story is surprisingly gripping and you find yourself really liking the characters.
Overall, a very good read and the perfect ‘first part’ of what can only be a very good series of books.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, but have decided to hold off for now and read Prey by Michael Crichton.