Tymon's Flight Paperback – 1 Aug 2016
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563 pages. Book appears to have hardly been read and is in Fine condition throughout. Tymon Grows Up At Argos Seminary In The Lush Heart Of The Central Canopy Where Science Is A Heretical Pursuit And Travel Beyond The Tree Is Banned, Hut He Wants To Break Free Of These Rules.
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I enjoyed the book and will read the next one for sure, the only reason it is not a 5 star is that I don't feel a it is at the right price point, the author has definitely missed a trick not putting her fist book in the sequence at a low cost of entry for readers who don't know about her.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Tymon himself starts out as a rather generic young boy. Unfortunately, even after reading the book I'm still not quite sure how old he is. He seems to start out around 14 and end up in his late teens though less than a year passes. Mary Victoria's tendency to refer to him as "the boy" also stressed a young age though his actions, especially in the latter half of the book, imply that he's older. Young boy protags in fantasy novels are a dime a dozen, but Tymon begins to distinguish himself in a few ways. First of all, he's not a reluctant hero. This, I think, is how these new throwback fantasies, for lack of a better term, are different than their Eddings and Brooks counterparts. Those were filled with reluctant heroes. Tymon wanted to mix it up. He also showed a cockiness and a bit of humor, giving him more personality than the clichéd orphan boy hero.
Mary Victoria embraces many more of the fantasy tropes. Tymon has a wise old mentor who lives on the fringes of society. He meets up with a spunky girl, a redhead no less. He discovers he wields rare and secret powers which he must learn to control. And the bad guy seems to have a disproportionate amount of interest in his doings. Yet in spite of all those, or to Mary Victoria's credit because of all this, I never found the plot predictable. Tymon gets knocked around enough and with enough twists that his journey turns into a real page turner. I most appreciated that he was not a passive recipient of all that was going on around him. He made choices which moved the plot. (A proactive protagonist! Imagine that!)
The first third of the novel opens rather slowly. There is a great deal of exposition, which is to be expected at the opening of a trilogy as the author establishes the world for us. However, there were a number of occasions where I felt that Mary Victoria missed an opportunity to show rather than tell. There was back story which could have been revealed in casual conversation with schoolmates for example. Or in Tymon's studies. Or in a lecture from a teacher. Having the boy at a school was an opportunity to show the reader more instead of just telling us. She does a much better job at this in the latter two thirds when Tymon, on the run, often needs to have his companions explain to him what he is experiencing.
Aside from this, the only real trouble I had with the book was envisioning the landscape of the world in the tree. This book is very different than many other fantasies in that the setting is utterly foreign. One would think that a tree would be familiar enough, but I had to reread many passages which described the layout of the cites over different levels of branches. Sometimes the images came strikingly clear while with other scenes I am still at a loss. I almost wish there were drawings included with some of the chapters. Overall, however, I came away with a strong feel for this alien land in the tree, especially the dead Eastern Canopy.
The people inhabiting the world of the tree were different than a typical fantasy. There were not your Anglosaxon-esque medieval peasant types. Instead we saw what we often disparagingly refer to as the third world. (Though in the tree, MV gives us a twist and makes the haves dark-skinned and the have-nots white-skinned.) I found this aspect of the book wonderfully realized. It had elements of Truth in it that could not be faked, revealing the author's own experiences. The songs rising from the temple recalled the call to prayer at a mosque. The natives crowding the ships at dock recalled the beggars on the streets in India (and many other places I'm sure but that's my own experience).
Ultimately, this is a book about Otherness. Tymon's rejection at first from his new found home is too real. Mary Victoria leaves the realm of fantasy when describing the mistrustful stares Tymon receives, reminding him of the atrocities his countryman did to these people. It is something very relevant to our world, and it is nice to see these serious themes being played out in what is an otherwise whimsical tale. I think that's when fantasy is at its best, holding reality out at an arm's length and examining it through the lens of the fantastic, where the rules can be manipulated just enough to heighten the reality without threatening the reader. We become more engaged than we otherwise would until we realize too late that we've been drawn in to something other than we expected.
I greatly look forward to the sequels in the series and am anxious to see how Mary Victoria will further her themes while maintaining the fun and adventure of the first book
I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would in fact. I have been finding it harder to get into fantasy lately, but with the unique setting, the smattering of other elements such as dirigibles, a society in which science is virtually taboo, and strong themes of prejudice and culture clashes, this book really rocked.
The main character is a young boy, bound to the church for raising him. He's at odds with everything in his world through, and finds himself more often interested in things outside the sphere of what's acceptable than not. When he meets a Nurian slave, everything changes for him and he makes decisions which lead to him being sent to the outreaches of society.
This is where the adventure really kicks into gear as we get to watch him interact with a race of people who despise his kind and unravel the mysteries hinted at in the first third of the book.
The conflict felt very true to me, and I think Mary did a fantastic job capturing that on the page from the perspective of a young man. I could feel the oppression, anger and distaste of the Nurian's towards the Argosian's, and would throw my lot in with them as well, if I had the chance.
The characters are engaging, and the story line captivating. It may not be as action packed as other novels, but it's a beautifully told story with a lot of heart and fire.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes high fantasy and it looking for a richly drawn and detailed world to throw themselves into. Unlike much fantasy out there, this is not just a revamp of anglo-saxon medieval times, it's a refreshing change! I am looking forward to sinking back into this world when I pick up the sequel, Samiha's Song, in the near future - it's a great time to start reading because the third book in the series is out shortly!
Samiha's Song is incredibly rhythmic in nature. Periods of intense action scenes, love lost and epic battles of good versus evil are interspersed with pensive and beautifully crafted dialog between the cast of characters, each of whom has been rounded off in a way that makes someone fall for any number of the archetypes. In short, these two books manage to hit the sweet spot for science fiction / fantasy, where fiction manages to reflect contemporary struggles in a manner that is close enough to our hearts to resonate, while giving us the distance to contemplate. I'm eagerly awaiting Oracle's Fire on iPad!