“Across the Fourwinds” by Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne


I don’t like to start a review with a negative, but the story begins with a problem, so here goes.

This novel has a standard YA Fantasy plotline in which a pair of teenagers are transported into a magical world where they have extraordinary powers and must use them to save both worlds from evil beings intent on destruction. The difficulty with these stories is the two complete settings.  The author is tempted to give too much information about the situation in the real world in the first chapter. Upon arrival in the magical world, we are hit with a similar info dump to bring us up to speed about the situation there. No matter how creative and imaginative the place is, this almost always involves a great deal of telling and not enough showing. For example, this story spends a lot of ink on one of the characters describing an incredibly complex power structure that has little meaning to the reader at the time, and from what I could gather, no effect on the rest of the story either.

The other weakness of the writing is the point-of-view jumping. A novel is not a movie camera. You can’t expect readers to bounce around the room looking at the action from different people, because we have nothing to orient to. At worst it’s disorienting. At best, it destroys any deep connection we have with any of the characters.

However, once the action starts (and there is a lot of it, in great and gory detail) the story really flows. Characters develop, relationships change, and a great deal of formidable magic is thrown around.

A powerful story, a bit rough around the edges in the writing style.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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