Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Prophecy by Hilari Bell
Hilari Bell is not among the most well-known fantasy writers, but she definitely deserves to be. In her latest novel, The Prophecy, Perryn is the underappreciated scholarly son of the warring king of Idris. Instead of mastering the arts of war, 14 yr old Perryn has spent the past 5 years searching through the dusty palace library looking for a solution which will help him defeat the dragon that is destroying the kingdom. Predictably, he happens across a suitably cryptic prophecy which he sets out to fulfill. He is thwarted not only by his inexperience and lack of self-confidence, but by the tricky Cedric, his father’s second in command. True to the fantasy formula, he recruits several allies in his quest to avoid Cedric and slay the dragon. While the plot is fairly standard stuff, the characters and superior writing raise this novel above the usual fantasy fare. Indeed, it is a testament to Bell’s ability that she is able to take such a familiar storyline, and still craft an adventure that feels thoughtful, enterprising and fresh.