Friday, January 3, 2014

Surfing the Human Wave: Karen Myers' To Carry the Horn

Happy New Year, everyone! Now that the winter holidays have passed, 'tis time for me to get back to reviewing some books! First up this month is Karen Myers' To Carry the Horn, in which a modern-day rural Virginian is thrust into a parallel fantasy universe just in time to get mixed up in some serious political intrigue. (Also, he's recruited to take charge of the Hounds of Hell and prepare for a hunt on which the fate of the kingdom depends, but this is just the context for the aforementioned intrigue.)

I understand this is the start of a longer series. Consequently, in writing To Carry the Horn, Myers had to strike a balance between building the world of the fae and telling a good story. Additionally, she had to introduce characters who were interesting enough to follow through future books. At the latter task, Myers succeeds; at the former, the results are more mixed.

I have to admit that, for the first half of the novel, I got bogged down. The descriptions were a little too detailed, which, for me, caused the story to drag. I also wonder whether some of the relevant history and magical "rules" of the realm could've been communicated in some way other than the characters sitting George down and simply telling him. That method is okay in small doses, but after several such conversations, it gets a bit repetitive.

On the other hand, as I suggested above, the characters are definitely worth further exploration. I love Rhian and am eager to watch how she matures over time. I also want to see exactly how Gwyn further atones for certain questionable choices he made earlier in his life. And what else does Cernunnos have planned for George?

Overall, I liked To Carry the Horn. It's a pretty solid debut that, despite its aforementioned flaws, definitely piques my interest in the rest of the series.

Final Verdict: Recommended, But With Notes.

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