FictionReview (books or video)

Fantasy Book Club: The Winter Oak — A Sturdy Fantasy by James A Hetley

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[amazon_link id=”B000BSFQQO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link]The sequel to The Summer Country is just as well crafted as its predecessor, the characters as well drawn, the action just as tight and interesting.  One thing I admire in James Hetley’s writing (and want to emulate) is his ability to completely combat stereotypes all the way through his books.  There is nothing rote or ordinary about his books.  He takes old fantasy tropes and makes them his own, and utterly different from anything I have ever read.

I used to be one of those people who would stay up to 3 AM to finish a book on a regular basis.  I had thought I had gotten too old for that.  Nope.  Just hadn’t found the right book.  This book kept me reading until I was done, and disappointed that there are no more in the series (hey, Jim.  Stop staring out your window and wishing for spring and write, already!).

The Winter Oak is just as good a book for young adults as it is for adults, and, if the parent is okay with frank depiction of love and sex, and some language, even for middle grade readers.  I plan on passing it to my 13 year old son, who is an avid fantasy reader, to read.

This is not epic fantasy in the sense of having a huge cast and having the fate of the world depend on the outcome, though I’m sure the inhabitants of the Summer Country might want to quibble about it being a world changing outcome.  This has four main protagonists, and small cast of antagonists, whose actions on the world are larger than life.

Jim’s prose is lyrical and never wasted.  You never feel like you’re waiting through a scene until you get to the action in his work… The Winter Oak is written beautifully and tidily, all at once.  I can’t say it enough.  Buy his books, keep his books.  They’re magical.


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