The White Fox by James Bartholomeusz

The White Fox book cover
Rating 6.5/10
The story has potential but lacks in execution.

James Bartholomeusz lives in Hertfordshire, England and is currently studying English Literature at the University of Exeter. His first young-adult novel, The White Fox, will be published in December 2011 by Medallion Press, with two more in the same series to follow. James is the first author of the YA-YA (Young Adults writing for Young Adults) line of Medallion Press.

By all accounts, Jack Lawson was a normal British teenager. He had few friends, no love life, and a horde of embittered teachers who seemed to be after his blood on a regular basis. In his Birchford home, a centuries old overflow prison–turned–orphanage, life was excruciatingly mundane.

Then came the Cult of Dionysus, a sect of sorcerers at the head of an encroaching Darkness.

Then an old friend back from the dead.

And then the white fox.

Suddenly life wasn’t so mundane anymore.

The idea behind The White Fox is in itself influenced by both the science fiction and fantasy genres. Jack And Lucy travel in a type of spaceship, encountering dwarves, elves and goblins and I found this mix of genres quite enjoyable to read. Also, the magic system was unique in it showed that anyone can use magic, not just a select few, you just have to be trained in the finer details. Since both factions originate from either the Light- or the Dark-side it was good to see a difference in their magic capabilities, where the Apollonians have shards, the Cult of Dionysus have other means of achieving their schemes and go as far as summoning infernal powers. These things were well done indeed.

What I disliked about The White Fox were some of the names and some minor details. James Bartholomeusz tries to sketch a fantasy world containing elves and goblins etc. but there is an instance when a telephone sounds with a  of Lady Gaga ringtone and this acted as a kind of “cold shower”, where I was forcibly removed from the fantasy world and put back into reality. There was also a fight near the end of the book where the bad guy drew his lances, but in the subsequent paragraph the lances changed to spears and then back to lances. I think that these small errors could have been easily avoided and I hope these will be resolved in the final version.

The review copy I received was an advanced readers copy which had a note at the beginning saying that there might still be errors in spelling and grammar. I will therefore not go into too much detail about grammar errors in the novel. However, next to the grammar errors, were also a few sentences which were not logical and took me quite a few times to re-read before I understood what was meant. I just hope these errors will be fixed when the final copy is released due December 2011.

If, in the final version, the grammar and spelling errors are corrected, The White Fox will be a good story for young adults. The version that I read was sometimes hard to comprehend due to missing words and illogical sentences. I do like Medallion Press's initiative to encourage young adults to start writing and this could well result in some nice and inventive stories. The White Fox could be a promising story, the idea is good.

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