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Guardian of the Ruins, by Robert C.A. Goff, Micah M. Goff Book Review | SFReader.com
Guardian of the Ruins, by Robert C.A. Goff, Micah M. Goff Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Dreamsplice Published: 2005 Review Posted: 7/10/2007 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Guardian of the Ruins, by Robert C.A. Goff, Micah M. Goff
Book Review by Mark Deniz
Have you read this book?
Tragedy befalls a young boy's village and he is forced to flee for his life, with only the words of a foe to guide him: "Find the Stump, Whittig Tench." On his travels, he meets others in situations like himself and comes face to face with the Shouda or 'Shadows' and the 'Stumps'.
These races will help him discover who he is and help him to overcome the trials that befall him along the journey. Especially the mystery of his dagger, retrieved from his grandfather's forge before leaving the village and the threat of the protectors, who are ever on his trail.
Sound familiar? It should, for where the Goff father and son team immediately grate is in the story itself, feeling far too much like a Tolkien shadow than any real idea or work of its own. True, there are many Tolkien copies and homages out there already but I don't think much of them either.
And it's a shame, for the writing in the novel is of a very high standard and with an original story in mind, this would be something I would look out for. Instead, it is just a different way of writing Elves and Dwarves and giving them different names, using plot twists we have all read many times before: the boy facing tragedy who grows up as a hero, for example, is a concept that is so overused as to be almost laughable, as is making sure that your enemies are clad in black and fulfil all the functions required of the bad guy.
Good writing or no, it is hard to overcome the feeling that you've already read this before and so why do it again? No matter how the writing flows, the fact that the pacing is well-defined and the story itself is consistent and workable, there is nevertheless real difficulty in keeping interested in this kind of book and the story within.
Attached, as part of the review copy, was an explanation of how the father-son team worked in the writing of the story. Robert Goff writes a tale and then his son Micah comes along with his red pen and shows his father ways to improve the text. There is a claim that even though they are very different writers, you would be hard pressed to see which of the Goffs wrote which sections of the narrative.
Here I am forced to agree, although not for the reasons that the Goff's proclaim but mainly for the fact that I can't seem to find the Micah Goff sections, which are claimed to be so radical and innovative. Everything feels like a standard Tolkien rewrite to me.
The story itself does have some interesting moments within and some characters to instantly warm to but I can't help feeling a sense of the inevitable, a sense of knowing where this is all going, familiarity truly breeding contempt.
If the Goffs write another fantasy series I will more than likely take a look, being as it was that the style of writing appealed to me. However this will be my last in the Counterspell Chronicles, as I have no interest in prolonging the Tolkien feel with yet more books.
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