A group of heroes must save the world: It is a fantasy scenario readers always enjoy, no matter how many times it is played out. Of course, the devil is in the details, and while some elements in The Sylvan Horn are fairly standard, there are also some unique characters that keep the novel from devolving into predictability.
When young Efkin, an elvin noble, sets out to find and blow the Sylvan Horn, he has no idea that he will make friends with knights from the estranged race of men and brave pirate ships, troglodytes, and the foul sorceries of the Lords of the land of Mor. But the horn must be blown in order for the Runes that are poisoning Efkin’s world to be destroyed. And Efkin is about to find the answer to some troubling questions, like why the Trolls have suddenly altered their behavior after hundreds of years, and who really created the Runes in the first place.
Readers will delight in the mysterious appearances of a dryad who is able to materialize not only herself but an entire healing oasis-forest. They will also enjoy the young heroes’ humorous attempts to ride a giant land crab through dangerous mountain tunnels—especially since said crab has the tractability and compliance of a haughty camel:
Ebin cleared his throat and, in the most pleasant voice he could muster, addressed the crab with deference.
“We have a great distance to cross and would be grateful if you would bear us on our way.”
The crab did not move.
“We are very tired and your kindness would spare us greater fatigue.”
It stayed motionless.
“I think a more urgent tone might have some effect,” Efkin counseled.
“Possibly, but we don’t want to appear snappish,” Ebin reasoned. “Any demands must be tempered with a measure of gentility.”
With startling speed, the creature suddenly crawled down the wall and placed itself in their midst, as if annoyed by their pleas and ready to send them on their way…
Despite some lengthy passages with a lack of dialogue toward the beginning of the book and some technical awkwardness regarding point of view during the same passages, The Sylvan Horn is a solidly entertaining start to what is sure to be an intriguing series.
Author Robert Redinger is an award-winning filmmaker and student of mythology. He lives in New York City.
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