Saturday, April 16, 2011


HOME LOST By Franz Mclaren

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become increasingly averse to the notion of review the artistic works of others in a public forum of any kind. Thus, it is a pleasant relief when I read a novel that allows me to offer a heart-felt praise for the work under consideration. Home Lost is the initial offering of Mr. Mclaren’s Clarion of Destiny fantasy series and revolves around his young protagonist, Leena, who is a village hedge witch in training. The novel opens as the young girl returns from a trip to the mythically symbolic Garland tree to discover that her home village has been ravaged and her family has gone, alone with most of the other village inhabitants. The opening volume focuses on Leena’s attempt to discover what has befallen her family…a journey that will lead her on an epic quest during which she will unravel the mysteries of her own monumental destiny. I will not delve into specific plot details here, rather I will concentrate on the tone and style of Mr. Mclaren’s writing. I’m not sure if this novel was intended for the consumption of a young adult audience, but Home Lost is a comparatively simply fantasy offering, but many complex fantasy offerings begin this way and evolve as they progress (Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan being a case in point). It is a pleasant and easy read that will not require a detailed score card to keep track of the pantheon of Gods and religions that one would need to wade through Steven Erikson’s Malazan books of the fallen. This relative simplicity does not detract from the fact that this novel is a tremendously pleasing fantasy read that is suited for genre lovers of all ages. What I particularly enjoyed about Mr. Mclaren’s novel is sense of innocence that permeates every page…every sentence of the story…so far removed from the cynicism and vitriol that seems to have infected so much of our literature and indeed, every aspect of life in today’s world. I find myself thinking of this novel in terms of adjective that I have not associated with the fantasy genre in some time…sweet and endearing. Even the resolutions of the story’s many conflicts were often achieved without the obligatory spilling of buckets of blood and mountains of viscera and this demonstrated a creative sensibility that I have seldom seen. From the technical perspective, Mr’ Mclaren’s writing evokes comparison with Terry Goodkind in his use of staccato narrative and the interrogative as a means of exploring a character’s internal thought process in any given situation. This narrative mechanism suits the story quite well.

The most lasting impact of this novel from my perspective is what compells me to give it the highest recommendation…this is a fatasy story that has been written with both innocence and a gentle grace that is as refeshing as it is delightful. If the story is a reflection of the man who penned it, Franz Mclaren is a man who I would personally like to know and whose perspective on both life and literature is all too rare. Excellent and recommended to fantasy lovers of all ages.

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