Z. E. Marchant
A humorous adventure story about the not-quite end of the world where a bard tries to get home to his wife after deserting from the army, and travels with a pair of suspiciously well-spoken mercenaries in tow.
A general escorts her king to ‘gods know where’ (he’ll know it when he gets there) while a witch and a wizard attempt to solve an age-old magical mystery.
A young girl with the gift of Sight discovers a race of empathic sea people, and their reappearance from behind a mysterious barrier dividing land and sea is coinciding with impending doom.
Together they all trip over history while trying to keep it from repeating itself.
When I was approached to review this book I thought ‘why not?’. I don’t read much fantasy, and am always interested in broadening my mind.
When I started reading Marchant’s Good Reef! I remembered why this was a genre I don’t read much, and why I had given up on Terry Pratchett many moons ago. There was just something about the style (and the frequent use of ellipses) that I couldn’t get on with, but for the sake of reviewing I persevered, and… I am glad I did!
The story is set amid a not-quite end of the world, and once I got used to the style and sense of humour, I found this an easy and entertaining read with an intriguing plot.
Initially I couldn’t see how the individual threads of the story related to each other, but as the novel progressed, these were all woven together as everyone makes their way to The Wall. It’s quite hard to think of a way of explaining the plot without spoiling anything, because I felt the mystery and confusion of the beginning of the story was purposeful, and as the gaps got filled in, my enjoyment of the story grew. I particularly enjoyed the story of the empathetic young girl, and her growing friendship with a newfound race of people beyond the Wall.
If I’m being honest, this still isn’t my favourite genre, and while enjoyable, Good Reef! didn’t convince me otherwise, but I did genuinely begin to enjoy the strange world created by Marchant, and read the story through in just a couple of sittings. For people a bit more used to the fantasy genre than me, I would say I enjoyed this story and am intrigued to see what else Marchant may have in store of some of these characters in a world which seems like it could be vast, and the stories many. I might not be about to rush out and buy all of Discworld, but Marchant’s amusing story has certainly opened me up to the possibility of enjoying a fantasy story, and sticking with something I initially wasn’t sure about paid off in the form of an entertaining read.
Thanks to Z. E. Marchant for sending me this book to review.