Post July 22, 2009, 06:24:39 PM

A Shadow in the Hills by Glenn Hackney

This is referred to as a dark fantasy. Not sure I would call it that, but maybe I don't really know the definition of the term.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

This is another piece with good elements; it's seems to tell the story of the origin of a soon-to-be hero named Liam. That's cool. But I thought it was bloated with exposition. I understand wanting to provide some historical color and what not. However, it was executed in paragraph-length info dumps that I felt leant little to the story and just slowed things down.

In its place I would like to have seen a bit more here-and-now everyday village life and character development so I could care about the people attacked by the Trows. Further, when the Trows come I would like to have had a better sense of who/what they were and what they looked like and smelled like and sounded like. Why are they so hateful toward humans anyway? Some history on that sounds more interesting to me.

The journey from Liam's village toward Pardus lacked spark. Very little tension, with the only drama being his effort to ford a stream. This is a classic setting for a quest and should be marked by some serious life lessons, danger, and adventure for Liam.

The section with the trolls also lacked oomph. Liam's adjustment to life with the trolls and away from humans could require its own novella (or more).

This sure seems like an idea worthy of a novel-length treatment. Let's see the details of Liam being stripped of his old self and life and embracing the world of the Trolls (however alien that might be) all the while (and perhaps unwittingly) heading toward a final showdown with the (at this point) mysterious Trows.