Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Vagabond's Son by L.F. Falconer

By Shawn

It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of both Falconer, as well as her work.  But, let's not be personal...let's get straight to business!  She walks a fine line between fantasy and horror.  She has a way of writing that pulls you into this fairy tale world and leaves you shocked and awestruck with every violence.

If you've never read any of Falconer's work, you'll definitely want to start with the Hope series to see what I'm talking about.  If you just went her edgier horror stories, you'll want to go straight for the short stories in Through a Broken Window.

This newest book, the first in hopefully a long series, goes right along with her previous work.  We find ourselves meeting Adalanto, the son of a vagabond.  He's but an infant and already lived more horrors than most of us humans live in a life time.  Born into a life of poverty and violence, Adalanto doesn't have much of a choice in what's to come of him.  As his journey continues, he begins to decide who he doesn't want to be.  These beliefs carry him through the first quarter century of his life.

We all have our hardships in life.  Sometimes it feels as if we have more than our fair share.  Adalanto is just such a person.  We watch him being battered over and over and see the injustice of it.  Then we get to watch as he pulls himself together, dusts himself off, stands back up and faces the world.  I like to think I'm that sort of person, but I fall short where Adalanto does not.  It isn't easy.  We get to share in the pain of it all, but we also get to be there when he rises victorious throughout most triumphs.

One of my biggest complains about fantasy writers is that they take a world that's known to us and then add characters known to us instead of using the creative license they're gifted with.  Falconer does no such thing.  She takes a world that each of us is familiar with and then tweaks it and spins it and leaves us with a feeling of safety and security, yet uncertainty and fear as well.  It's like being in your old childhood room, where you've spent many happy nights, except now you fear there may be a demon in the closet.  She does the same thing with our characters.  We have these bright, bold 'people' of different races and all arranged in different status.  And we feel safe and secure because this is the safety that we know.  We all know about kings and queens and vagabonds and trolls and ogres. we?  And what do we really know about humans?  Falconer gives us that security of knowing what we already know while adding that same 'but what if there really is a demon in the closet' feeling.

If you're a fan of dark fantasy, definitely check this out.  This is NOT intended for children or young adults!  If you're planning on getting it for a teenager, please take the time to read it before doing so.  Though some teens are more mature and can easily handle the situations and gravity in the book, not all will be able to do so.  Then again, if you you enjoy dark fantasy, I strongly suggest this book anyway.  Come fall in love with Falconer's work, just like I do with every new book she sends me.

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