Enchanters by David Bryan Russell
Review by Floresiensis
Glys Erlendson is a committed environmentalist convinced that the planet is in grave danger. But she discovers another frightening truth: she is not human. Worse, there are Shadowling beings that wish her destruction. Unable to control her powers, Glys must follow Tarune, a Sylviir Enchanter, to Myradelle. But death awaits at every step and Glys must throw off her human facade to survive... but what lies underneath? She learns to unite with the forces of nature, tapping the flow for her magic. And once she reaches Myradelle, new and more desperate adventures await, as Guurm and the Witch of Four Directions seek to entrap her and her companion Shimmer. Caught in an intrigue between the hidden races, Glys and Shimmer must ultimately return to the human world, and then battle their way through the cavernous depths of the Underworld to stop a menace that threatens both the human and Enchanter world.
David Bryan Russell’s Enchanters is a contemporary fantasy novel that addresses the environmental issues of our time. An imaginative and accomplished debut from an author with great potential who, in a bold move, has made his lead character female.
Even in these supposedly enlightened times lead female characters do not often appear in the fantasy genre. Would JK Rowling have had the same success if her debut novel had been called Hermione Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? (Why did this need to be renamed Sorcerer’s Stone for the American market?) What if the Earthsea Cycle was centred on a school for female wizards? How many female hobbits can you name (other than Rose)? Fantasy books are read by both genders and this imbalance needs to be addressed. This is where books such as Enchanters will come into play.
Enchanters focuses on the beauty that can be found all around, be it natural or spiritual. Using a thoughtful, flowing and descriptive narrative it allows us to follow a young girl on a journey of discovery, into a fascinating and often frightening parallel world. Due to the book’s subject matter there is an occasional sense of hopelessness but a mixture of love and belief bravely fight the battle against it. Although there is much within that is standard to the fantasy genre, the angle from which it has been approached make it a fresh and non-clichéd read.
A strength of Russell’s is in the way he is able to describe in words the beauty that can be found in both worlds. His descriptions are often stunning, frequently reminiscent of the wonderful William Horwood:
“The Uskaal occupied a deep vale. On the north side the waters of the stupendous Twin Sisters Falls plunged from a towering escarpment to form the Thunder River, which neatly bisected the valley. The woods were thick with bell alders, red oaks and giant, sky blue tansies; luxuriant crimson ferns carpeted the forest floor. The area was particularly rich in wildlife: enormous crystalline butterflies, delicate iom birds that drifted about like puffballs, blue and mauve spotted deer, pelluciddai, dwarf unicorns and caerlinx. All the creatures of the Uskaal displayed a languid manner, for Enchanter magic insured that no human presence ever disturbed this sacred vale. Indeed, for the past three hundred years the maintenance of Uskaal had been J’lii’s responsibility, and she had never neglected her duties.”
Enchanters: David Bryan Russell
As the Enchanters moves towards a very enjoyable and satisfying conclusion the reader will find that a increased sense of natural awareness has awakened within them. David Bryan Russell brings forth his concerns and fears using a medium to which his prose is well-suited and the result is a book of our times, a book that addresses the real and terrifying plight that we find ourselves in.
Enchanters is a highly recommended to readers who enjoy contemporary fantasy and have concerns over the environment. An imaginative and accomplished debut.
David Bryan Russell was born in Los Angeles, California. A writer and acclaimed film illustrator, he has worked on many notable film productions, including Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Batman, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Moulin Rouge, Master and Commander, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Enchanters is his debut novel, The Shining Realm will continue the story.
Nichola from Bundeena
Enchanters is a true delight! I felt transported into Glys' world though the beauty of the imagery described. Her courage, spirit and love of nature on our planet was inspiring and provided insight into many real issues facing us today. I struggled to put this book down and as is always the case with a great book was disappointed when the story ended. My children and husband were also entralled by the story and we are waiting for a sequel to appear in the future.
Karen from SEQ Australia
I found Enchanters to be a very real, modern take on our current environmental issues, using a thrilling fantasy story that leaves you thinking "What can I do to help this Earth I loved?". The female characters I felt such a connection to and the story reflected a desire for a healed world we all long for, especially the presence of such sincere strong men to help the woman along their important quests. How grande a medium such as a major movie would be for this story to perhaps stir these same feelings in the rest of the population. To have male and female on the same page re. concerns for our mother earths issues would be no doubt a win win for all of us!!!!!!
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