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September 16, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: The Scroll of Years, by Chris Willrich

Book Review: “The Scroll of Years” by Chris Willrich

Illustration by Kerem Beyit

Illustration by Kerem Beyit

The Scroll of Years is a lushly realized world with a gorgeously Asian-influenced world that leaps off the pages. While it may be Chris Willrich’s first novel, it’s evident he’s honed his craft well with short fiction. The result is a fast paced read with short compact chapters that keeps you page turning until completion.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.

 

After having read that synopsis I was intrigued enough to want to read this book, but I also worried I might be jumping into a YA fantasy romance (while there is nothing wrong with YA or romance, they’re just not things I enjoy reading). Luckily though, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the action was pretty evenly paced and the romantic elements are far and few between. Imago Bone and Persimmon Gant obviously have a deep love for each other, but it’s past the mushy phase. They’re partners, friends, and lovers; essentially, their relationship is more than just physical affection, it’s communication. For me, that seemed more enjoyable and real. I’ll take real and flawed over sappy romance any day.

While Gaunt and Bone may be the leads, the ones who stole the show where Flybait and Next One A Boy (Yep, you read those names right). These two young aspiring thieves showed a lot of heart and chemistry. Flybait, a free-spirited young man, was a wonderful balance to Next One A Boy, a more calculated young lady with more than her share of ambition. I found their chapters to be some of the best in the book. It’s no surprise that a couple of street smart kids would be favorites of mine though. In many ways, they’re what I’d imagine Gaunt and Bone would have been like as children. I’m very interested in seeing the continuation of their story, and whether it continues to correlate with that of the books lead couple.

One of my only real negatives for this book is the names used. While I try not to be discriminate against the use of unique names, I do take issue when names pull me out of the story. I’m not talking about using weird names that I can’t pronounce; it was when I could not tell if I was reading the start of a name or a beginning of a sentence that I began to get annoyed. Luckily, midway through, the remaining cast of characters seemed to adopt more reader friendly names and Next One A Boy eventually started to be known as Next One instead. While that’s not a huge change, it made the last half considerably easier and enjoyable for me.

Overall, I think this is a pretty fun series for all ages. It’s certainly clean enough that I would be comfortable letting my younger teenage sister read it, and there is more than enough going on to keep a fan of action fantasy happy. Combine those elements with Willrich’s wonderful prose, and you’re left with a rather impressive debut. I enjoyed the read and I’m looking forward to the sequels so the story can continue.

This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks,

A Daily Dose of R&R

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