Thursday, February 23, 2012

ARC Review: Touchstone by Melanie Rawn

Author: Melanie Rawn
Publication: Tor Books; First Edition edition (February 28, 2012)

Description: Cayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good—very, very good. With his company, he’ll enter the highest reaches of society and power, as an honored artist—or die trying. Cade combines the talents of Merlin, Shakespeare, and John Lennon: a wholly charming character in a remarkably original fantasy world created by a mistress of the art.

Although Touchstone can stand alone, it is the first book of a brilliant, utterly engaging new fantasy series from the author of the bestselling Dragon Prince series.

My Thoughts: Touchstone was an interesting fantasy in a well-developed world. Cayden is an aristocratic young man whose dream is to be part of the theater world rather than be part of the court world. This puts him into conflict with his social climbing mother. The characters in this world are all blends of various kinds of paranormal creatures like wizards, elves, harpies, gorgons, fae, pikseys, gnomes, goblins and trolls with different kinds of magic. Cayden himself is a wizard but he also has dreams of the future. He went away to a school to try to learn how to control his visions with somewhat limited success. He does know that he can change the futures he sees but is determined to change them only for himself no matter what he sees in the future for anyone else.

In this world, dramatic productions involve a lot of magic These dramatic productions are done by groups of four young men - and only men can officially attend the productions. It might be just me, but I couldn't quite picture what a performance would look like, beyond the fact that magic was used to create sets and costumes and one of the other performers could influence emotions. 

When the story begins, Cayden is the tregetour for the group which apparently translates as author. He is in a group with two of his friends but they are looking for their fourth - someone to play the role of glisker. Jeska is the masquer and Rafe is the fettler. Along comes Meika who is an excellent glisker and an interesting character. This book required a five page list of terms which only deals with the vocabulary leaving the social and political situation to context for explanation.

The story is about how the group gels and becomes a very famous one and how they get along as they compete in the Trials held each year for performing troupes to travel on the circuits assigned by the King. As they travel their circuit, we learn more about the culture and the prejudices of the people. We also learn about the growing friendship between Cayden and Meika that is complicated by visions Cayden has had of Meika's future and his soul-searching about what he should do about what he sees.

Not much really happens in this story and it is filled with new vocabulary that has to be learned in context. If you are looking for a rich fantasy world and want to start a new trilogy, you might be interested in this one. 

Favorite Quote:
"Something must not be quite right on your father's side," she'd mused more than once. "My people never threw such a mongrel as you." He knew by the names alone that he has Wizard and Elf (two water, one fire), Piksey and Sprite, and even that rarest of all bloods, Fae, in him. And Troll, he'd heard his mad great-granny say, because where else could he have gotten a face like his?
I received this book through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. You can buy you copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear - I've been looking forward to this. I've always been a fan of Melanie's work (except for that unfortunate detour into urban fantasy/paranormal romance), so it's nice to see the start of a new fantasy series.


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