Camille Gabor






Book One of The Vildecaz Talents
Juno Books, Feb 2007
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood


Nimaur, Duz of Vildecaz, was a powerful magician until he lost a magical duel with the unscrupulous Yulko Bihn. Now most of his powers are gone, and acquisitive nobles are circling his small but prosperous duzky.

Nimaur's daughters have magic, but not the kind for a defensive war. They must use their powers cleverly in order to defend their lands. Erianthee works with the Spirits of the Air to stage illusionary pageants. Sometimes the Spirits use her instead. Ninianee can communicate with animals. It helps that she is part animal herself, during the Full Moon. Neither sister has firm control of her own magic.

In this first installment, the castle of Vildecaz is inundated by visitors. Which ones can they trust? It is safer for the young chatelaines of Vildecaz not to trust any of their guests, not even the two men who seem devoted to them.

A story needs more than a plot and attractive visuals. It needs emotions. Since author Camille Gabor has not used the kind of wording that releases emotion, readers, be prepared to supply your own.

The first few pages show the trend. The paragraphs are long and intricate without being involving. The names are too long and unfamiliar to relate to easily. The descriptions of clothing are long and pretty without stirring up my sense of glamour. And the menu announcements, when we get to them, are just plain long!

The society in which Vildecaz is set requires a great deal of ritual pageantry, which is described with colors and lengthy details. I can only guess the extended descriptions were meant to show that the main characters are bored by it. Unfortunately, so was I. It would have helped my enjoyment of the story to be told that Ninianee was bored by the ritual, rather than to have to learn that by sitting through it myself. Presenting the ritual by showing Ninianee's reactions, rather than going through the full program, would have served two functions: decreasing my boredom and bolstering the characterization of Ninianee.

Gabor made a point of inventing words for articles of clothing when perfectly good medieval equivalents already exist. Using the known words would have saved us breaking off from our reading to go look up each new item in the glossary. A glossary is a good thing to have a necessary one, in NIMAUR'S LOSS, because the author uses invented words as a tool to create a fantasy feel. But referring to the glossary breaks up the reader's train of thought and lowers our level of involvement. It makes a remarkably slow start to NIMAUR'S LOSS.

NIMAUR'S LOSS does not end in a resolution of any kind. It is merely a cliffhanging break between chapters. Readers are intended to go right on to THE DECEITFUL ORACLE when it comes out. I don't plan to.

May 2007


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