Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review: "Bakkian Chronicles, Book I - The Prophecy" by Jeffrey Poole

Title: Bakkian Chronicles, Book I - The Prophecy
Author: Jeffrey Poole
Available: Smashwords
Summary: "Griffins, Dragons, and BNPs (Bugs of Nightmarish Proportions). Who knew? It seemed harmless enough. See a mysterious door and step through to see what happens, right? Now stranded in a magical kingdom, husband and wife search for a way home. However, enlisting the aid of the king and queen has given them their biggest shock yet: Royal Babysitters. Some days it didn't pay to get out of bed."
Source: I purchased this on my own.

Review: Okay, a strange thing happened to me while I was reading this book. I thought it was supposed to be... heavier. Darker. And it wasn't, and it threw me. In retrospect and in rereading the description, I have no conceivable idea why I thought it would be. My only excuse is that I just finished reading an anthology of dark, gritty fantasy and was still stuck in the wrong world.

Anyway, about halfway through, I was unable to tell if I liked this story or not but then it started reminding me of a Xanth novel. I smacked myself upside the head and realized this was a... lighter fantasy than I had expected it to be. (I've been a Xanth lover since I was eleven, so this is a good comparison.)

Once I got that through my head, this book got a lot more fun. The fact that Steve and Sarah read more like teenagers to me than their purported ages wasn't a problem any more. The casualness of the writing became quirky, like characters that actually say "omigod!" in dialog, or "cool!" being in the exposition. I'm usually a dictator about Point of View and not a fan of Omiscent unless it's Austen or Dickens, but it kind of worked for me here.

My only two... complaints about this book were that I would have liked a slightly heavier (more realistic) treatment of serious matters, like when Steve fends off some bad guys and drives them to their deaths. That didn't seem to affect him at all. Even though they were bad guys, and he didn't technically kill them, the way it rolled off him to no effect did bother me. Similar "deeper events" were treated as lightly and I did struggle with that.

Secondly, my inner consistency meter didn't understand sending Steve and Sarah off for the key instead of staying with Mikal. Being who they were, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. I would have liked to have had more of a reason for them to make the journey themselves before they left, rather than seeing it later on when they got there. (If there was a reason and I missed it, then my bad but I don't recall one.) There were other little similar things, but in the breezy spirit of the story, I got over it easy.

Otherwise... the fire stuff was cool, I liked Rhenyon (I think I spelled that right), and the key 'surprise' at the end was funny. It was a fun, breezy kind of fantastical read. I give 4 Fireballs and will, once I catch up with the rest of my reading list, get to Bakkian II and future Bakkian tales!

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