Aphelion Review # 31 --Necropolis--
A Review of Xina Marie Uhl's new Fantasy Novel
Review by Dan L. Hollifield
Type of music/work:
Original Novel by Xina Marie Uhl
Xina Marie Uhl
One of the most realistic fantasy novels I've ever read. The civilizations in the novel read as if they were real history. Well plotted and characterized, Necropolis is a fast paced, intense adventure painted across a grand, sweeping canvas of empires and city-states. I was hooked by the end of the first page, I had to read more!
General impressions of the novel:
The characters were easy to believe in right from the start, and as the story advanced, the characters changed and grew. Very nice work, very well written characters. These aren't just paper cut-outs being moved around a stage. Xina Marie Uhl has crafted some well-rounded, realistic, believable characters in Necropolis. They live and breathe and change and grow, just like real people do and have done since people came to be. This is a difficult trick to pull off in Fantasy novels, but Ms. Uhl does it with such grace that she makes it look easy. And as with all good tricks, the one you see hides a better one that you only notice subconsciously while you're reading, in the back of your mind. Her characters are so good, that you percieve her grasp of history and ancient cultures without noticing. The seamless flow of narrative is constantly spiced with references to the cultures of the background civilizations, but that never interrupts the story. It gives a depth of historic feeling to the background of the story. An extra layer of realism to bolster the believability of the story. Very nice work, indeed.
The plot grabs the reader from the first paragraph and one doesn't want to put the book down until the last page has been turned. I've been reading and reviewing a lot of Fantasy novels over the past few years, and Necropolis is one of the best, most tightly-woven, and interesting storylines that I've had the pleasure of reading. This was a very fun read. The tale advances in stages, with just the right mix of characterization and set dressing to keep the reader turning pages with growing pleasure as the adventure proceeds. Like a great mystery novel would unfold, Necropolis presents the reader with new facts and insights into the world of the story. One gets the larger picture with having to wade through great chunks of exposition, and at the same time a greater understanding of the characters and their interactions.
And the backgrounds! Xina's use of historical elements to weave the various cultures together in the world of the story adds strength to the already exciting storyline. Her years as a student have more than paid off in this one volume alone. The world she created as the backdrop for this novel is alive with every sort of intrigue, plot, and counter-plot that history has shown time and again to be the normal state of affairs within every culture humanity has ever developed. Wheels within wheels, behind every shadow a deeper shadow lies. All as real as real can be, and yet set to the needs of the novel. And all subtly done. It was a real pleasure to read this novel. I hope there will be many more to follow.
Background info: Xina Marie Uhl is an ancient history graduate student, government worker, and dog lover. She lives with her husband, daughter, aforementioned dogs, and various other furry and scaly creatures in sunny Southern California. Visit her on the web at http://www.xcpublishing.com/xinamarieuhl.htm
Review Copyright 2003 by Dan L. Hollifield
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