CHRYSANTHE by Yves Meynard


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Second English-language fantasy (The Book of Knights, 1998) from French-Canadian writer Meynard.

In Chrysanthe, a world regulated by magical Rules, a magical book can, unbidden, write Heroes into reality. One such is King Edisthen, created to depose the incompetent previous monarch, Vaurd (a rather flimsy justification, all things considered). Vaurd's son Evered—he's prone to hysterical convulsions—burns for revenge. However, another rule decrees that anybody who knowingly harms the king dies. So Evered's evil wizard, Casimir, traps Edisthen's wizard and Hero, Orion, in a Made World, where reality is mutable, and destroys him, leaving only Orion's apprentice, Melogian, to defend the realm. Next Casimir's assistant, Mathellin, another evil wizard, abducts Edisthen's young daughter Christine and conveys her deep into another Made World that resembles our own—except that, for some reason, the magical Rules still apply. Here, Christine all but forgets her origins. She does, though, have an invisible companion, actually a benevolent spell sent by Orion before he vanished. When Mathellin, or Uncle as Christine knows him, learns about the companion he sends Christine to a malevolently incompetent psychiatrist, who proceeds to "recover" impossible memories of childhood rape and abuse, a bogus therapy that all but destroys her. So, years later, when the Chrysanthe knight Sir Quentin shows up, Christine has great difficulty believing or trusting him. And even if Sir Quentin can successfully escort Christine back to Chrysanthe, Evered and his cohorts stand ready to plunge the world into a magical war. Meynard gradually fills in the back story, in convoluted fashion, and while there are many echoes of master fantasist Jack Vance, unfortunately they remain echoes, and neither the construct nor the characters ever come alive.

Flashes of originality and gleams of insight aren't enough to redeem this ponderously verbose and occasionally awkward effort.

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3026-0
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2012


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