Reading Fantasy is not about escapism. It doesn’t teach magic to people. Fantasy is a genre to gain insights about being human or exploring the human soul by taking us out of the real world. In Fantasy, through the threats of sorrow and failure readers get a fleeting glimpse of joy and discover truths and an underlying reality.
Fantasy author and scholar Jane Yolen states the importance of Fantasy best:
"In fantasy stories we learn to understand the differences of others, we learn compassion for those things we cannot fathom, we learn the importance of keeping our sense of wonder. The strange worlds that exist in the pages of fantastic literature teach us a tolerance of other people and places and engender an openness toward new experience. Fantasy puts the world into perspective in a way that 'realistic' literature rarely does. It is not so much an escape from the here-and-now as an expansion of each reader’s horizons."
This week’s Cybrarian Book Review spotlight is on THE SEVEN SONGS OF MERLIN (Book 2 of the Lost Years of Merlin) by TA Barron. What I love about this series is it focuses on Merlin’s youth at the time he was first coming into his magic. Barron’s epic telling of this period fits very nicely with all of the contradiction and controversy that go arm in arm with the legend of the great wizard.
In this tale 13 year-old Merlin must battle an ogre named Balor to gain entrance to the Otherworld to obtain the elixir that can save his mother from the poisonous deathshadow.
As we learned in my book, The Destineers Journal of Fantasy Nations, ogres are in the same family tree as giants and are easily twice as tall as mortal men. They are the strongest humanoids known and are notorious for their fighting skills. Imagine the fear a 13 year-old must feel in coming face to face with such a creature. Ogres are burly and muscular, but not known for their intelligence. They are not stupid, but they do not think fast on their feet – something Merlin is able to take advantage of in dealing with this being.
To read the Cybrarian ‘s review, please take a moment to click over to the other site.