Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Shapestone
James Bibby
Millennium, Victor Gollancz, 288 pages


Paul Davis
Shapestone
James Bibby
James Bibby's other books include the fantasy series, Ronan the Barbarian, Ronan's Revenge and Ronan's Rescue.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa Brunetta

Advertisement
Marauding orcs, a novice magician, an attractive damsel in distress, the Guild of Assassins, incompetent officers of the law nipping off for a pint during working hours, and a rollicking, hilarious adventure set in a sprawling metropolis with numerous pubs and back alleys. Does this sound like a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel to you? That, my friends, is the problem.

I actually really enjoyed the storyline in this book. However (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), from the time I looked at the cover art I was getting huge Terry Pratchett deja-vu. The thing is, the story is strong enough to stand on its own -- it doesn't need to ride on the coattails of anyone's popularity.

The biggest difference between Mr. Pratchett's stuff and this work by James Bibby is that Mr. Bibby is aiming at a more mature audience -- try explaining the backfiring Burning Bush incantation to a young adult without stammering and blushing! He is also more graphic with the blood n' guts. More than one character in Shapestone ends up plastered (and I mean plastered) all over the walls, with people wiping bits of him off their clothes and bodies. It made me a little queasy, actually.

As I mentioned previously, once I got over being indignant at the similarities between these two writers and settled into the story I quite enjoyed it. James Bibby, you are a good storyteller! Don't sell yourself short! I still can't decide whether you were imitating to appeal to an already-established fan base or if you exhausted your ideas on the storyline and decided to flesh out the background with thinly-veiled Discworld characters and locales.

What exactly is the storyline, you ask? Here you go...

The story centres around an amulet that possesses an ancient magic, accessible only to the bearer of the bauble. Unfortunately, the soldier Darien was unaware of this when his head got bashed in by an orc warrior.

Lord Marsden, the future Regent of the City of Koumas, gave Darien this amulet for safekeeping, figuring no one would suspect he had it. As it turns out, even in death Darien has to safeguard it because his ghost is tethered to it like a dog on a leash. So Darien spends his time being yanked around by Macoby, Marsden's sister, who is determined to discover her brother's killers (ah, yes, sorry -- Marsden got killed by the people he was guarding the amulet against) and the amulet's powers while trying to keep herself alive. Fortunately, she has help from Glart, a novice monk-magician, selected as the Chosen One to save the world by preventing the amulet from falling into the wrong hands. As you would expect, the two (with the ghostly third, and the amulet making up the quartet) get into and out of trouble repeatedly in all sorts of amusing ways.

My final verdict? This book is worth reading, because it is amusing, and yes, Terry Pratchett fans will surely enjoy it.

Copyright © 2001 Lisa Brunetta

Lisa Brunetta is a big Terry Pratchett fan and an avid reader. She has more projects than she has time to complete them, hence she ends up a little calendarily challenged. Her motto is "there is always time for reading (or excuses to read instead of doing something else)".


SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to editor@sfsite.com.
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide