The Amber Ring
A former network administrator and software developer for the U.S. Department of Defense, A.L. Walton (otherwise known as Piscis – or simply “the fish”) currently resides in Boise, Idaho, where he spends a good chunk of his time making stuff up and putting it on paper. And writing music. But mostly the other thing.
At the age of ten, Sofia Corona saved the Fairwoods from the malevolent grasp of the Cedar Witch and her goblin army.
Two years later, she drowned unceremoniously in the lake behind her Oregon home.
In the months following the Heroine’s death, when the Fairwoods face a resurgence of goblin attacks, they are forced to turn to Sofia’s cynical twin sister, Maya, for help. Although she wants nothing more to do with her sister’s fanciful adventures, Maya comes to realize that this one last favor could give her the closure she needs to put Sofia’s memory to rest and move on with her life.
With her twin’s magic ring and faithful gryphon companion, Maya embarks on a reluctant journey of whimsical antics and unwitting self-discovery in this stark but humorous fairy tale.
I loved this novella. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it does a glorious job of turning the traditional “hero” story on its head. One of the things I loved about this book is that there’s your classic heroine destined by fate to save a magical world of zany fantasy creatures … except that she drowns in a pool, and suddenly it’s up to her emotionally detached sister to save the day instead.
The character of Maya is so fun, precisely because she is so far removed from what a heroine is supposed to be. She’s rational and cynical, so rather than reacting to a whimsical forest creature with delight, she gives it this “you’ve got to be kidding me” look and then tries very hard to be polite while inwardly bemoaning the ridiculous situation she’s in.
The novella is packed with a variety of whimsical forest creatures, my personal favorite being a tribe of trolls who consider themselves expert hat makers (they’re not), and are convinced the rest of the world are set on stealing their hats (they’re not). Sometimes the “whimsical encounters”, as I like to call them, seemed a bit tightly packed together, but it’s a novella, not a rambling 100k word fantasy novel, so allowances must be made!
All in all, a delightful little read!
Five out of five stars
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