Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Book review : The Tides of Avarice (A Sagaria Legend) - John Dahlgren



When given the chance to review the first of a new series of fantasy novels called The Tides Of Avarice, I had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was a book packed with action and adventures on the high seas, swashbuckling stories of pirates, ruthless bloodthirsty murderers and a quest for lost treasure. Oh, and lemmings. Yes, you did read that correctly. The hero of the tale, Sylvester Lemmington, is a mild-mannered rodent !

The book is highly original and quite unlike anything else I've ever read before but if you imagine a bizarre cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Wind in the Willows, you'll have a very vague idea ! There are a few humans who pop up from time to time but they're no more intelligent or important than any of the other animal species who make up the cast list. John Dahlgren cleverly manages to present the animals as humanised, intelligent beings, capable of great wit, intelligence and emotion, while retaining the specific characteristics of their particular breed. Probably the only thing many of us know about lemmings is their suicidal tendency to go blindly following the crowd and throwing themselves off cliffs. The author skilfully weaves this into the plot, so that the the mass suicide is revealed as a ruthless, political and cunning ploy on the part of the lemming-mayor to get rid of troublemakers in the town.

The tone and style of the book frequently reminded me of Terry Pratchett and I couldn't help chuckling as I read. The fast-paced adventure swept me away and kept me turning the pages. The characters are highly developed and blur the boundaries of good guys and bad guys. The heroes have faults and the villains have a few redeeming features so the interplay between the characters is interesting.

Knowing that this was the first in a series, I was expecting to rediscover the lovable lemming Sylvester and his latest adventures in the sequel but the book has an epilogue which fast-forwards to reveal his happy-ever-after ending. I was slightly disappointed by this but I'm sure the next episode will have equally appealing characters and storylines.

The story would appeal to readers of all ages but there is a very small amount of colourful language and some bloodshed so it's best reserved for teens and grown-ups. My 10-year-old bookworm daughter will have to wait for a few years until I pass it on to her !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £9.99

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Editions Didier Millet (20 April 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 9814260533
ISBN-13: 978-9814260534


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