Apologies for putting a second review of this book on our blog, but it's so good to discover a fellow Australian fantasy author trying his hand at self-publishing. And he's not a bad writer, either!
Creation of a Huntress (Review of Wild Thing by L J Kendall)
This book has an intriguing premise. Suppose you take a
child and make her an experimental subject, moulding her in a particular
direction over years of training. Suppose her teacher has magical abilities (and
a moral deficit) that allow him to subtly alter her neurological make-up
towards this end. And suppose you do this in the surreal atmosphere of an
Institution for paranormal dysfunction. What would this girl become?
Warning – this review may contain spoilers
This semi-dystopian fantasy is set in a future in which society
is rebuilding after mage-powered storms and a plague, and in which some choose
to alter themselves with animal DNA and mind-altering drugs. The girl Sara
knows little of this, having been kept secluded by her adopted ‘Uncle’, Doctor
Harmon. Within the Institute’s vast grounds, she grows up a wild thing, a
huntress. Here she befriends a cybernetic guard dog and learns to feel the spirits
of nature and others less friendly.
It’s not long before the girl is exploring the hidden depths
of the Institute, drawn to one particular man, claimed to be an insane mage.
Her wilful and resourceful nature find her defying layers of security to defend
him. But thanks to Harmon’s meddling, Sara herself has become dangerous,
displaying a disturbing and uncontrollable mix of naivety and power.
This is a fascinating story, by turns exciting and
disturbing, as the reader follows Sara’s development from wild child to adulthood.
If I have a criticism, it is that the plot development was overly long and
drawn-out. In particular, I felt too many chapters were spent following Sara around
the grounds and on a needlessly large number of attempts to assist the incarcerated
mage, which reduced my surprise and excitement at the finale. It’s a shame because
in other respects this is a fine first novel.
I’d recommend Luke Kendall as a
new author to watch.
Buy this book byclicking on the Barbarina The Land of Oz at the front of the blog