Book Review: The Realms Thereunder

The Realms ThereunderThe Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So here is my problem with Ross Lawhead, he has some really big shoes to fill. Fantasy, especially the cross period type, is an exploding and popular genre. If this is your first fantasy novel it will be a wonderful place to start, especially as a young reader. It compares to The Chronicles of Narnia, Nicholas Flamel’s First Codex: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, and The Paradise War. However, that is the real problem. There are many other choices in the same vein and they tend to be better for the adult crowd. Young adults would love this book because the main characters relate their experiences in mythic England from their youth and how those travels affect them now as college age adults.

The chase scenes and mythos built around a “medieval” England are wonderful and spot-on but again the major sticking point is that the genre is crowded and may leave readers of fantasy a bit short. I felt like it was reaching for Tolkien John Ronald Reuel or even Joe Abercrombie but never really gets to feel of a full blown fantasy. It also borrows heavily from the work created by Lawhead’s father but this is only in style the story is still unique and different. I would rate this a borrow not a buy for anyone interested.

It is a classic modern couple finds themselves accidentally a apart of a fantasy quest. It takes place in a mythic based medeival England and follwos the journey of a homeless young man, Daniel Tully, and an Oxford University student, Freya Reynolds. One of Freya’s stongst mometns is early in the novel were she openly challenges a lectureer at Oxford about a missing history of England. She would make for a great starting point of analysis in the view of women in current fantasy literature. I really wanted to worry about their escape and success but it just falls short for me.

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