Friday, August 6, 2010

Giftwish & Catchfire

Today I want to talk about two of the most captivating fantasy books I've ever read, Giftwish and Catchfire by Graham Dunstan Martin.

Now, I'd like to preface my gushing review by acknowledging that both books are brimming over with so much descriptive imagery that sometimes I found them a bit difficult to follow. Yet that is precisely part of their charm! Martin twists syllables into strangely fantastic sentences and metaphors that I would never think of in a million years. One of my favorites is the description of the wizard Hoodwill, who is said to smile "like a knife" (In Catchfire, p. 6).

I would dearly like to see such a smile.

And then there's the story itself. All the best elements of fantasy included: Wizards, a dragon, a peasant lad forced to play the role of champion, and a witch girl with the double soul of a princess.

In a creative writing class I took in college, a few were of the opinion that fantasy tales are often the same. Personally, I believe the fantasy genre is more like a game board with new rules and pieces for each game, and Martin plays it better than most!

Work cited:

Martin, Graham Dunstan. Catchfire. Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989.

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