White Mountain by Sophie E Tallis
After a long stretch of reviewing seminal fantasy works it was quite refreshing to read something fresh and newly released, and it was with a certain enthusiasm that I tackled White Mountain by Sophie Tallis.
White Mountain is the first book in the Darkling Chronicles and follows the adventures of a sorcerer, Marval Agyk, the Green Wizard and his companion, the dragon, Gralen. Mr. Agyk is drawn to a distress call from an old wizarding friend in the hidden city of Issatun. When he arrives things are not quite as they seem and Mr. Agyk is captured by an ancient evil, M’Sorreck, who feeds on magic to fuel his changeling abilities. Mr. Agyk escapes, although diminished to a tiny size, and embarks upon a quest to regain his magic.
The core of any good fantasy book is a journey, whether that be a quest or a journey that a character has to make within himself. Tallis uses the plot device well—each of the main four characters has a journey to make within the novel, and for some there is further to travel in future books. As the companions complete stages in their ‘quest’ so they evolve as individuals and friends, in a believable and entertaining way.
The world of White Mountain is one that co-exists within our own, hidden away by magic and ancient skill. The races are the usual High Fantasy ones—elves are AEllfr, dwarves (the main protagonists) are Dworlls, and dragons are Fyrren. In this hidden world are ancient cities and kingdoms that we visit during the book. Tallis has a skill at description of these locations that conveys their heritage and age in a detailed manner, allowing a believable backdrop to the adventure. There is excellent ‘world-building’, another bastion of quality fantasy books, and I found myself drawn into the concealed cities she has created. There was a definite air of Tolkien and Donaldson to both the characters and locales, notably in the protagonist, M’Sorreck, who conjured memories of Lord Foul in a number of ways.
The tone of the book alters as the adventure progresses. The earlier parts of the book have a lighter, almost fairy tale quality at times, with banter and jokes, especially between Agyk and Gralen. The atmosphere shifts to being quite dark and harrowing half-way through, and by the end is fairly bleak. It will be interesting to see what vibes are set in the future books, as it may be tricky to reset the lighter atmosphere given the events at the end of book one, although they are a welcome break in the narrative.
White Mountain is a well-written and engaging read. Stylistically it is engaging, although there was a habit of capitalisation to convey shouting/yelling that irked me. Although fitting with the High Fantasy style of the book, I was left wanting this hidden world to feel more of a part of our own. Humans are mentioned, but never feature, and in many ways the book could have been set in a totally fresh fantasy world rather than our own. I’m hoping in future books that Tallis brings in more aspects of our own world, perhaps human characters, to make the hidden one a little more magical.
In summary, a good début and I look forward to the next book.
This White Mountain book review was written by Ross Kitson
All reviews for: The Darkling Chronicles
The Darkling Chronicles: Book 1
Amongst our modern world lies another, an archaic and hidden world of tradition, sorcery and magic. As dark demons awaken from our past, the last remaining wizards are bein...
Have you read White Mountain?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
White Mountain reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over t...
The Dark is Rising Sequence
On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is ...
Three Hearts and Three Lions
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realm...
His name is West. Her name is Cally. They speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, but they do not know that. What they do know...
The Abhorsen Chronicles
Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. Af...
The Chrestomanci Series
Diana Wynne Jones
Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth an...
It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core o...
Charlie Keeper has been forced from her home by a bloodthirsty and terrifying stranger. But in escaping she discovers her house holds the gateway to the Realm of Bellania -...
The Tragedy Paper
Every year at an exclusive private boarding school in New York state, the graduating students uphold an old tradition – they must swear an oath of secrecy and leave b...
The Very Best of Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint, a fantasy author who has left the same mark on the genre of myth and legend much as the likes of Sir Thomas Malory, Christian Anderson, Grimm, who has foun...
The Testament of Tall Eagle
John R Fultz
A young warrior's vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle's people, night-crawling devils sta...
Out of Oz
The marvellous land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on...
Alif the Unseen
G Willow Wilson
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocr...
After an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth, John Bridgeman is left to scrap out a solitary existence, surrounded by bodies and haunted by the girlfriend he cannot allow to ...
R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass - remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone - are wonders ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: