Book Review: Lichgates by S. M. Boyce @thesmboyce
*This is an old review transferred to my new website*
Lichgates is a fresh, well-written, well-edited Indy-published novel that takes you through the extraordinary events that surround Kara, a human who stumbles upon a world filled with magic and terrifying creatures – many of whom would just as soon see her dead or use her for their own selfish aims.
Kara is an ordinary person, that lived an ordinary life, and such is not equipped for what lays ahead of her. Some choices will lead to tragedy, others… well she’s always getting into trouble actually. Her smart mouth and independent American ways don’t always lend well to diplomacy. The story revolves around her role as “The Vagabond”. I found it interesting that she used this word for her role as it frequently had negative connotations throughout history. For example, in Middle English, its meaning was criminal, very apropos.
Braeden, her companion through the book, is a likable character I found myself frequently rooting for and loving the irony caused by his dichotomous role. And yet, he leaves you frequently wondering if his own ulterior motives will bring tragedy to the heroine. This tug of war between his own contrary intentions, whether conscious or not, brings a level of tension and angst to their relationship that Kara is entirely unaware of for much of the story, making me want to scream at her to be careful around him, to not trust him.
I liked that the hero of this story is actually a heroine and how Boyce handled the problems involved in her interacting with frequently patriarchal societies. Most of the stories of this type contain a male lead (Tolkienn’s Frodo and Bilbo Baggins and Brandon Sandersen’s Kelsier to name a couple). It seems I’m always looking for video games and stories where there is a female lead. It’s refreshing and leads to interesting road blocks on the road toward eventual success. Talking of road blocks, another element that makes this novel interesting is that the road blocks are not all from a centralizing symbolic evil (e.g. Mordor from The Lord of the Rings). Her role as Vagabond is not a simple symbolic role with a single connotation for all, but a mixed heritage with a dense past she is largely unaware of throughout the novel, complicating her goals.
The Grimoire Trilogy has the potential to be a cult classic the likes of The Lord of the Rings. The book is filled with impressive imagery, the world coming to life in the readers’ minds with ease. The characters are alive and different, bringing both the everyday world and fantasy upon each other with little difficulty. I found myself practically (even literally) giggling as I bubbled with excitement to see what would come next. I think you will too.
About the Author
S.M. Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist who also dabbles in contemporary fiction and comedy. She updates her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.
She also has a B.A. in Creative Writing which, naturally, qualifies her to be pompous and serve you french fries.