Friday, December 9, 2011

Review - Cinder by Will Wright

Cinder, written by uprising author Will Wright, is an epic fantasy filled with dragons, wizards, archers, sailors, cats, dogs, and a few surprises. 

The title character, Cinder, is a young dragon who loses her parents to an unknown force.  The wizard Tig (short for Tigris), protects Cinder and embarks on a quest to learn what killed her parents.  For a disguise, Tig transforms her into a human girl--the girl you see on the book's cover.  The result is a fun-filled journey as Cinder learns to cope with humanity while helping to save her fellow dragons.

The book's biggest strength is its vast array of colorful characters.  Each member of the cast is distinct and well formed, and each one acts on its own.  Half of the characters are human, and the rest are dragons and other magical animals.  My favorite happens to be Mank, the cat.  You won't find any halflings (that is, elves, dwarves, hobbits, Elvis, or any of those Star Trek aliens that look like humans with fancy makeup thrown on), which some people see as a plus.

The many characters are also the book's main weakness.  It takes a while to introduce the cast, which is okay until you realize that some characters cannot be fully explored.  There just aren't enough pages to cover everyone.  I found myself caring for half of the main characters, while others would meet their demises without a sniffle from me.  Same as with the first book in the Harry Potter series, most of Cinder's energy is spent in introductions and worldbuilding.

A lot of these concerns could be alleviated with sequels and/or prequels.

The book is well-edited, family-friendly, entertaining, and recommended for anyone who loves epic fantasy.

Finally, a disclaimer: you might find my name in the acknowledgements (included in the free sample).  I helped to critique the first draft, but I received no favors to write this review.  I'm happy to see he took some of my suggestions, though.  :)

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