IMHO

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Truth About Magic by Dave Luckett

I’d like to thank Dave Luckett for allowing his novel to be the ‘guinea pig’ review on IMHO.

Dragons, broom stick races, rubbish collectors visited by bearded mages who inform them that they’re the dethroned prince of some backward parallel universe west of Hogs Breath upon Tyne. You’ll find none of these in Dave Luckett’s The Truth About Magic.

What you will find are two elves, Mr Tipkins and Rathalorn, the first as lowly as the other is highborn. Both elves are gift-givers, that is, they bestow personality gifts upon newborn babies. Neither elf relishes their job. It’s a thankless task and they have their sights set upon something better. Circumstances ensure they attain it.

Both are admitted as students of the Collegium Magica where they study the craft of wizardry. They are soon joined by Alain and Dink, two human children. What follows isn’t a perilous quest into the lands depicted on some map, but rather a battle of wills between the talented Tipkins and the connected Rathalorn. This book isn’t so much about good versus evil as intelligence and perseverance versus deception.

I love to read, but as a mother of five, a uni student, an author and an editor, I have to make good use of the small portion of free time I receive. If I’m not happy with a book, I’ll put it down and move on. Not only did I finish this book, I did so in two days.

The tale is a simple one, but not simplistic. The good guys are likable and the bad worthy of our contempt. Both are capable of having a bad day and losing their temper. Many of the tropes are instantly recognisable (magic wands and flying carpets) and many are new (the writing of Faery being made up of colours rather than letters). The human element is represented, yet this is not really their story. The main characters are Tipkins and Rathalorn and the enmity that exists between them. I found this a refreshing change as all too often authors rely upon some callow youth to save the day. Tipkins, for the most part, is the hero of the piece who works with his human wards to make things right.

So, the big question, who would read this book? I would place this fairly in the 7-10 age bracket. Okay, it’s not Le Guin but it’s not Blyton either. The characters are not sugar and spice and they don’t learn some life-changing moral lesson at the end. If you’re looking for a book to entertain your young ones over the holidays, this would be it.

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