This is another offering from Grimbold Publishers – a quirky, YA fantasy, featuring hapless Zircon Gwithyas, who is the main protagonist.
Zircon Gwithyas just wants to be a normal teenager, preferably one with a girlfriend. If you’re a spotty nerd with glasses as thick as jam jars, that isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you live in a derelict manor on a haunted hill with a bunch of spooky eccentrics for a family, and the object of your affection is an irritable sword-wielding college student. It becomes virtually impossible when you are dragged into a dark, chaotic semi-reality where your moderately-deceased ancestors expect you to save the world from a horde of grotesque demons with a fondness for torture…
I love this one. Zircon’s exasperated view of his life puts an amusing spin on this Gothic tale of overweening ambition, pride, as the terrible consequences reverberate down the generations of this afflicted family. I really like the fact that Zircon is gawky, physically unappealing and unfailingly bad at interacting effectively with the people around him. He doesn’t even want to be a Guardian – in fact, he didn’t realise this was his fate, until circumstances give him a hefty nudge.
Crowe has played with the classic Hero’s Journey, so beloved of screenwriters and SFF authors, by including many of the necessary ingredients, such as the Call to Action as the initial emergency engulfs the family – his initial resistance to said Call is entirely according to the script. But the wise Mentor, whose counsel is supposed to help Zircon on his way, becomes otherwise engaged and Zircon’s trusty sidekick, Joanna, thoroughly despises his physical ineptitude and evident terror. In the end, of course, he tackles the monsters, or there wouldn’t be a story. But it isn’t until well into the book, the reader begins to appreciate exactly what has been going on – and realises just how cleverly Crowe has played with our expectations.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, (no internet!) I’ve been unable to post my review when I scheduled to do so, therefore it’s been a while since I read this one. But it won’t leave my head. I find myself thinking of Zircon rather a lot at times when I should be thinking of something else – it’s special when a book gets under my skin to that degree. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy – this one is a gem.
This sounds really good and I delighted you enjoyed it. I hope you are connected again soon!
Thank you, Kimberly! This is such a fun, quirky book.
I love fantasy books. This sounds like one to read! 🙂
It is quirky and enjoyable – I hope you are able to track it down, Crystal…
I love it when a book sticks with me long after I’ve finished it. I don’t know why but I kept getting visions of The Adamms Family while reading the description of Zircon’s family, lol.
They do have that slight vibe, especially at the beginning…
Sounds like just the thing for my LFL; of course, i’ll Have to read it first. Lol
I’d love to get your take on it, Rae:).
You’re on a roll with good books – and you’re killing my TBR. I’ve added this to my wishlist.
Yes – it’s been yet another bumper year! I have been very, very lucky with, so far, few disappointments.
I’m glad you enjoyed it! As you might guess, a YA genre (and an unappealing cover) mean that I won’t likely be reading this one.
It’s a really quirky, unusual read that takes the usual tropes by the scruff of the neck and gives them a real shake…