I know it has been a little while since I’ve posted one of these. So I suppose its about time. Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series. As ever, So Many Books, So Little Time! I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
A Halo of Mushrooms by Andrew Hiller Rating 9 out of 10
Once planted, it lives everywhere...
In a place of origins, the first Fairie Ring withers. Worlds die. Wonder fades. As its last ripple reaches out, fell creatures barricade up the few remaining Bald Mushrooms and wars are fought for the right to possess what precious little remains…. Until Derik, a healer, creeps through lines of armies, thorns, and traps to steal one.
Tying the wonder to his hip in a sack, he finds himself alone on Earth in the gray, declining city of Clarksburg. Without friends, tools, weapons, and even stripped of the ability to read, he must escape pursuit and find refuge for his burden. A burden that stubbornly refuses every attempt to find it a new home.
Shadows of war are descending and all Derik has to fend it off is a baker, a chemist, a cerulean sweet, and a withered hope.
The chase is on....from world to world and from the Great Lakes to Malawi.
Fresh, new, and delightful. In Halo of Mushrooms, Hiller offers something superbly different from other paranormal fantasy novels. This is no vampire romance; it is a desperate race across worlds in a nearly hopeless attempt to preserve…wonder, of all things.
Halo of Mushrooms follows Derik, a healer from another world, as he comes to Earth, another stop among many, many others. Branded as an outlaw by his own people, and hunted by thousands of terrifying monster, Derik is searching urgently for a place to preserve his precious cargo, and by doing so, make safe wonder for the universe.
As he befriends and is befriended by an unlikely pair: a chemist and a baker an interesting love triangle forms. As we continue through the story, Hiller takes us on a crazy ride full of twists and turns, leaps forward and double backs.
Though Derik has a full understanding of what he is trying to accomplish, the “how-it-will-be-accomplished” is hazy at best. Although incredibly authentic in its feeling, on one or two occasions the lack of clear purposed gives the story a bit of a meandering feeling. This notion is mostly squelched by the story twists that keep a reader wanting more, though. In truth, I had no idea how this story was going to end, and even less of an idea of how wonder could be preserved against such terrible odds. It kept me reading feverishly to the end.
I particularly liked the creation of magical seds, magical foods of different kinds that offer different attributes and come with different drawbacks. The way this interlaced into and through the story as a whole was really quite delightful.
One caution, there are a number of times, more so in the beginning, when the point of view character switches back and forth inside of the same scene. It gives an odd feeling of omniscient writing to those parts that can be a bit jarring and harder to relate to the pov character you thought you were with. That seems to lessen as the story progresses; so when you run into it early, don’t let it deter you. Hold on for the whole ride, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’ve read Halo of Mushrooms, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message below. And if you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
Also, if you would like to be the first to hear about other great books, feel free to sign up on the right. I’m also giving away the first two chapters of my novel, MIST FALCON. I’d love to send them your way, so do me a favor and sign up.
Read with joy.
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Ryan J. Doughan