Monday, September 13, 2010
Book Challenge - Tymon's Flight
A couple of weeks ago Seak from http://seaks.blogspot.com issued a challenge to people to pick a book at random, read it and then review it on their blog. Tymon's Flight was my choice.
There are a few reasons behind it. I loved the cover, I'll go into that later. The author is a local (well, she's from New Zealand, but we'll claim her), she was at Aussiecon and signing when I saw Tymon's Flight. I've never had an author sign a book for me before and Mary graciously consented to sign my copy of Tymon's Flight.
Tymon's Flight is the debut of New Zealand based novellist Mary Victoria. It is the first book of The Chronicles of the Tree. Although the book is over 500 pages in mmpb and has not been marketed as a YA novel, it is most definitely YA. The story and the main characters are fairly generic. It's your basic foundling with a mysterious past uncovers a power that he never knew he had. A power that will help an oppressed minority throw off the yoke of their conquerors. I found Tymon a little frustrating, he was too often a doormat, I preferred the heroine Samiha, who judging by the title of the sequel: Samiha's Song, will feature more heavily in the future.
Despite those flaws, some rather convenient plot points and occasional clunky dialogue I enjoyed the book. I put most of this down to it's rather unique setting. Tymon's world is a huge tree. The Argosians spend all their lives in this tree and travel from canopy to canopy by means of dirigibles, rather like old sailing ships, only these sail through the sky and not on the ocean. Although during the course of the book readers only see the lush Central Canopy with it's capital city of Argos and the drought stricken Eastern Canopy, home to the oppressed and feared Nurians there are tantalising hints of other parts of the massive tree. The barbaric Northern Fifes in the Northern Canopy and the spice rich Lantria in the South Canopy. I hope to see more of these exotic 'lands' in future volumes. Mary Victoria has the knack of being able to hold readers attention and make them keep turning the pages.
Although Tymon's Flight is relatively self contained there is obviously a story to follow this. Samiha's Song is due out in February and I will continue to follow The Chronicles of the Tree.
I'm not entirely sure where the inspiration for the idea of a world in a tree came from, there's obviously a parallel with the Norse legend of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Living in New Zealand I'm sure some if it came from the dense forests of the South Island and the giant kauri forests on the North Island, up at the 'winterless north' as the indigenous Maoris call it.
I promised to speak a little about the cover and I will. The cover art is done by Mary's husband Frank Victoria and shows a small airship taking off from Argos City. The tree city is in the background and has been beautifully realised, it really caught my eye and I hope they retain the artist for the rest of the series.