Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: Evensong by Krista Walsh



When you step into Feldall's Keep, magic is in the air. Not because magical Maggie is practicing her craft. Or because villain Raul is flexing his own sorcery. Their creator, Storychanger Jeff Powell, has been summoned from the comfort of his city apartment to help the people of his fictional realm. In Krista Walsh's Evensong, Jeff is in the midst of finishing the series and neatly wrapping up the story of Feldall's Keep when he wakes and finds himself surrounded by the characters whose lives he's dictated the past few years. Jeff swears he's dreaming, but the further he dives into their lives and troubles, the quicker he realizes he's made a mistake and will do whatever it takes to right the wrongs he's written.

Imagine you wrote a story and were suddenly in it, but the characters weren't quite how you imagined and there is a lot more to their story than even you, the author, knew. Jeff Powell goes from shocked to determined as he realizes these realities of his predicament. After all, this is a dream...it's all just fiction, isn't it? Jeff isn't the most likeable character at first. He's a shy author whose only weapon is a pen. As he navigates this new world, Jeff's frequently scared, beaten, and bruised. It's easy to feel for him, but then he says something that steps him away from the characters he is getting to know, and as a reader, you just want to wring his neck. It takes a threat to the woman he likes to make him wake up and grow a pair. I admit, however, when he finds his bravery, he becomes a character to like.

The characters in Feldall's Keep all have their strengths and weaknesses, but there is one thing that is undeniable: they will lay their lives on the line for one another. They're selfless and they're characters you root for from square one. For this reason, one of the biggest themes I see in Evensong is love. The characters love each other. They love their home. They love their people. The idea of love is what spurs Jeff into action. Love of these people is what makes Jeff sacrifice his own health and safety. 

Most of all, Evensong shows how an author should love his or her characters. Yes, they'll make the hard decisions, but they'll really think about the consequences which will provide them with the tools to write a better story. The premise of the story is what drew me in, and Walsh successfully made me, a writer myself, think about my own characters in a whole new light. How would Mike react if he knew the reason I killed his family? It was a thought provoking idea that both writers and readers can appreciate. In fact, it made me like her characters all the more. As a writer, if I don't feel the emotion of my characters, it's not the right path to take. Walsh may not have intended such a strong lesson in her novel, but if she did, I thought it was brilliant.

There were a couple of scenes where I felt Walsh took the easy route out of trouble, yet I also understood the purpose of those choices in the larger scheme of the story. I also understand Jeff's limitations as an author turned fantasy novel character. At times I wish I knew more about the characters. For instance, the lack of development of Brady made me suspicious of his real motives. On the other hand, his mystery is part of what makes him interesting.

The first novel in the Meratis Trilogy by Krista Walsh, Evensong is a fun ride that uses its premise to take readers on an emotional, exciting, and unexpected journey. Author Jeff provides amusement as he experiences his first horse ride and sword fight. Humor turns to heartache as characters die and trouble finds itself at the door of Feldall's Keep, yet there is always a sense of hope. Whether it's knowledge that Jeff has the power to change the story or confidence in the strong characters he created, it's hard to think that the love of this group of people cannot overcome anything. Even if fantasy is not your typical genre, give this novel a shot. Its magic will grip you from the start.

All book reviews on Solitary Spark are personal reviews of books I found for personal reading. I received nothing in exchange for this review.

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