Someone should feel honored: it's day two of the CSFF blog tour of D. Barkley Briggs’s The Book of Names, and I'm doing a two-part Genuine Fake Review.
When we left our heroes, they had just ventured through the runed arch into the lost world of Karac Tor, also known as The Hidden Lands, where they encounter a monk-filled abbey and some further plot points. Specifically, we finally find out what the whole "Book of Names" business is about. Baby names? No. Epithets for enemies? Negative. This is a list of all the people who have been or will be born in Karac Tor. The problem is that the mother-in-law of all identity theft is occurring, and names are vanishing left and right. No, this isn't a Bizarro World version of ACORN; it's the work of Nemesia, so named because not everyone knows that "Nemesis" is already feminine. She's a witch who can turn teens into zombies even without modern electronics.
Now, there is actually a basis for all this. In many cultures (including the Biblical ones), a name is thought to sum up a person's identity. There are various places in the Bible where "the Name [of the Lord]" is another term for God. In modern Judaism, "HaShem" ("The Name") is another name for God. And a lot of teens feel lost and without an identity of their own, which is why they tend to flock together like so many sheep. Good luck with that. Back to High Fantasy...
Anyway, the solution to all this is for Hadyn and Ewan to become Champions of Karac Tor and give Nemesia a noogie. But first, they're going to go talk to the local government. Kids these days! An adult would know that you should never say, "You're from the government, and we want you to help us." But then, an adult would also realize that you can't get out of a magical land without completing your quest. As Professor Kirk would say, "What are they teaching in schools these days?"
But soon the boys discover that they can't flout genre conventions. Thus, in accordance with Union Rules, they pick up a collection of odd companions and random encounters, such as Flogg the gnome. As a slogan it's not nice, perhaps, but it's still a quick source of cruel laughs: Flog that gnome! Flogg is bitter because he didn't get the job as travel site mascot, and he refuses to return to the lawn in disgrace. Then there's Sorge the warrior monk. "Sorge" is German for "care, concern," so we can see why he's a gray monk. He dispenses wisdom in the form of riddles and aphorisms, rather like Obi Wan channeling a fortune cookie or Yoda with normal syntax. He never quite masters the true lethal power of boredom, though.
Will the brothers save The Hidden Lands? Will they hide them better so the bad guys can't find them so easily the next time? Oh, probably--just not in a single book; this is a series, you know. But you'll have to read the book to know for sure.
For Genuine Genuine Reviews, check the links below:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Alice M. Roelke
Rachel Starr Thomson
1 year ago