A good cliché

Posted by Marie on Thursday, March 26, 2009 in , ,
The Named – Marianne Curley
Fiction, Fantasy, YA; ISBN 1-58234-913-4; Bloomsbury, 2002.

For once, the review blurb at the back had been accurate. It is from Kirkus Review (I don’t know this publication though) and it says:

“Swashbuckling time-travel plus soap-opera relationships make for a page-turning start to a promised trilogy… An ongoing guilty pleasure.”

Yup, that sums up what I think of this book so neatly that I just stop right here… but then, I don’t want to be accused of plagiarizing another person’s review.

In my own words, I just will describe The Named as a decent read. Not a must-read but it is a good book that can be absorbed as an in-between. It has all the right ingredients for a fantasy adventure YA book – exciting action, good nicely-plotted fantasy story, characters that aren’t annoying (only slightly so), even a hint of budding romance (but not so much). By the end of the book, I’m searching Bookmooch to see if there are copies of the second and third book out there. Yet I’m still giving this one an imperfect score.

The problem is that the story is predictable and the book is rife with fantasy clichés (for more information, I suggest The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Diana Wynne Jones' very excellent 'travel guide'). Time travel, hidden worlds, nine chosen ones as destined saviors – yes, all the familiar and comfortable fare. Even the six of the nine chosen saviors (gods, nine is so Lord of the Rings) is formulaic – the rugged handsome young leader, the Elvin-like almost-immortal guide/mage, the angst-ridden haunted warrior, the jokester, the doubter, and right down to the pure-of-soul female cleric-err, healer. As in any typical fantasy yarn, most of the characters are underdeveloped, to make way for the adventure-driven plot. Despite this, the book isn’t that bad – it’s just that a true-blue fantasy reader might find herself a little restless, that’s all.

4 out of 5



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