Author, Fantasy, Science Fiction, AD&D

Disenchanted

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I just finished this story yesterday afternoon. When I picked this book up, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. The title was vague to me, and it left me wondering what the book was actually about. Obviously, the title did the job it was meant to do; make the peruser curious enough to investigate further.

In the beginning, Disenchanted begins with a small group of travelers climbing out a cave. They appear to be escaping a life of violence, only to begin their first day of freedom with just such an act as they had hoped to escape. It leaves many questions in the reader’s mind and was well thought out. Ms. Ursel did a great job of connecting every dot, and answering any dangling questions left to tantalize her readers by the end of the story.

Disenchanted is dialogue driven, and the author did a superb job with this. It also possesses a wide variety of colorful characters, each very believable, and many of their lives intertwine. I found it very easy to connect with a number of them.

I discovered plenty of not so commonly used words throughout her work. I’ve heard plenty of complaints by other readers about other such writers doing this. I personally like finding words I have to look up. As a writer myself, widening my own vocabulary is part of the job, and a facet I really do enjoy.  If you are a reader put off by big words, you might have to look up, this may not be the book for you.

Although Disenchanted is driven mostly by dialogue, Ms. Ursel did a great job balancing dialogue with action. In this quote, we see one of many such examples:

““As they left the tanners, the leather in a roll under Blayn’s arm, he heard a noise behind him and wheeled around to find Morwen in the grip of Richard, the tanners son. He had shot up tall and broad shouldered since his days of schoolyard bullying.

“Well, my pretty hussy. You came around to see me but you didn’t stay for a roll in the hay.”

“Don’t talk to her like that.”

Richard looked down at Blayn. He sneered.

“And who’s going to stop me, a scarecrow like you?”

“Just so. You can’t keep a civil tongue in your head, you’ll have to do without one altogether.” Blaine raised his arms and chanted a rapid incantation while Morwen, taking advantage of Richard’s distraction, drove her knee into his crotch with all her strength.

Richard doubled forward and fell, writhing in agony, his mouth working. No sound emerged. Morwen and Blayn took to their heels.

Back among the terebinths, Morwen gulped for air. “You didn’t really take out his tongue, did you?””
Disenchanted offers a prologue, forty-six chapters, and an epilogue. The switching between one set of characters to another keeps the pace reasonable and allows the reader a number of places to stop if the need arises. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and fantasy. YA and Adult are likely to be the largest groups of Disenchanted’s readers.

Lastly, just one note of caution: if you are a reader who shies away from Christian oriented works, which this isn’t entirely, or you are a follower of western religious doctrines, which this also isn’t entirely, this may not be the book for you unless you can look upon this as a window into philosophic evolution. Whatever the case, don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself—chances are you will be glad you did.

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