The Phantasist Review

The Phantasist

The opening to this book is extremely deceptive, the second person narrative is reminiscent of the narration that you find in role playing games but it is only for the prologue that this unusual style of prose endures, so do not give up on this book straight away if you don’t enjoy the opening few pages.

This is one of the most interesting books I have read for a while. It is not a book that can be easily pigeonholed into a genre. It doesn’t even fit into the genre that it creates within its pages, that of “Phantasy”, it is not a fantasy book or an adventure or action tale to thrill you with drama, instead it is an exploration of writers, the writing process, the elements of fantasy that can be developed and taken much further as well as the slight element of mystery that is laid out in the opening pages in order to keep you reading on.

The change between second person narrative and first person narrative happens quite seamlessly and is very well explained and for those who write it is also an interesting take on what it is to be a writer that is overtaken by ideas and other worlds, so completely consumed by them that there is a need to come up for air and visit bookshops of all places.

The changing between the “Sinistria” tales and the narrative of the writers is well executed, though the names of each of the writers are reminiscent of aliases, it might be normal for one or two unusual names amongst a group of seven, but to have seven unusual names amongst them is the most unbelievable part of this book.

The book is separated into three parts – the first deals with the fragments of stories that are written by the writers in the group that have been exposed to the “Sinistria” world. Each of the fragments is very different, written to convey the writer strengths of those that of have penned them.

The brief interlude of Jagapye and Iskandar that comes at the start of the book and at the end of the first part is technically the second part of the book and provides the reader with a break in the narrative to collect their thoughts and prepared to enter the second part of the story. That follows the revelation of the strange corner of the bookshop that contains books that have not yet been written but shall be, much like in the book Flight of Dragons.

The third and final part of the book – part 2 – is again written differently from the other two sections. The third part of the book is an interview that is being done with the author of “Sinistria” and one of the key writers in the “phantasy” genre that is intercut with extracts from the “Sinistria” books; much like in the first part of the story. The extracts from the books are also related to the questions that the interviewer is asking.

On the whole this book is very well written but it is on the long side. It is not a book that can be read in one sitting because of this, despite it being easy to read. There are also moments when you find yourself flicking back through the story to check on what has been written before.

The best feature of this book is that it shows how and why collaboration on great tales in wide universes works so well if they are unified under the vision of one writer.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something original to read and not happy to merely sit and read books that are almost carbon copies of one another.