For those of you who saw my post on Friday, I recently proofread a book called Huw the Bard, for my good friend Connie J. Jasperson. Now, before this book gets launched TOMORROW, I have a little treat for you!
‘Huw the Bard’ by Connie J. Jasperson
The youngest master in the Bards Guild, eighteen-year-old Huw Owyn is at the top of his craft. But the artists’ quarter catches fire, forcing Huw to flee the burning city. The turmoil and panic involved in the spread of the fire is portrayed extremely clearly, and you sympathise with all those caught up in it.
The action at the start of the book sets up everything that is to follow. We see Huw’s pain, and grieve with him, at the loss of the rest of the Bard’s Guild – including his own father, the Guild Master. The pain is very real, and while I was proofreading this book, I occasionally had tears streaming down my face. We feel his anger when he learns it wasn’t an accident, and his terror of being discovered as he tries to escape. It’s a 200-league walk, as the crow flies, to the one place he might have a friend, though the path Huw must take is anything but straight and he must face many hardships along the way.
Throughout his journey, we watch Huw grow from a young, vain man used to being the center of attention, into a courageous man who finds he is capable of far more than he ever believed possible. The way Mrs. Jasperson does this is so life-like, you often expect him to leap off the page. But her amazing characterisation isn’t limited to the main protagonist, the vast array of supporting cast have all received the same attention to detail; regardless of how much time the reader spends with them, you immediately get a sense of who they are.
Although this sounds like a ‘journey of self-discovery’, it is far more than that. There is enough adventure spread throughout to satisfy all but the most bloodthirsty of readers, while not being too gory for those that aren’t partial to violence.
Now, of course, this is a fantasy book, so where would a review be without at least mentioning some of the weird and wonderful creatures Huw encounters on his journey into the wild northlands, the one possible place of safety for him. I could talk about the stupendous firedrake, which is pretty much a small version of a mythical dragon, or the ginormous wood-wraith which looked like an extremely tall tree unless you saw the eyes, or maybe even the fire-sprites. They may not be all that large, even look quite cute, but they’re viciously lethal – so venomous that you have to wash a sword in water at least two times before it is safe enough to sheath after killing one.
There is a wide spread of diverse issues addressed in this story. From murder and rape, to treason, and even homosexuality – all are handled with the utmost delicacy by Jasperson so you know exactly how her characters feel about each of them, as well as society’s view, through the eyes of Huw and the narrator. The author has hit the perfect balance in every aspect of this book. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the rest of the series.
A superb 5 STARS from me!
I hope this has whetted your appetite ahead of the launch tomorrow. Come back here in the morning to find the links to this amazing novel on Amazon!