Hunt for Valamon by D.K. Mok
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anyone familiar with DK Mok’s writing would be aware that she loves to subvert a good fantasy stereotype. Hunt for Valamon, her second novel, is no exception.
Here are some examples of what I mean. Valamon – the abducted prince from the title – is woefully inept to be the heir of the all-conquering Talgaran Empire. His younger brother, Falon, is far more fit to rule, but chafes at the unrelenting tide of paperwork involved. Seris is a cleric of Eliantora, which means he has some skills at healing, although unfortunately for Seris, they don’t work on his own person. And Elhan has a sorcerer-sized chip on her shoulder, which manifests itself as a particularly nasty curse that results in a lot of random destruction, not that Seris is willing to abandon her in the interests of self-preservation. Throw in a revolution organised by a particularly put out warlord, lots of near misses and some fairly unexpected romances (all handled with a feather-light touch) and I think you’ll agree this is not fantasy as you know it.
The prose is deft, the pacing just right and the quirkiness is amped up to the max. If you’re a bit tired of teetering epics or overly grim fantasies where nobody comes out unscathed, give this one a try.
4 stars from me with a nod to Mok’s originality.