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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Century's Scribe by Brendan Walsh is an ambitious new adult fantasy novel offering multi-layered themes and interpretations. It begins with an endearing bookworm dragon, moves toward main character Dreden Sharpstand and his professor father, then to his friends. They live with financial strain, and are adversely affected by the mysterious if not dangerous Sunitian Sea. Dreden and his friends come under attack by men wielding weapons beyond their understanding--from another time and place it seems. When the attackers come back for round two, Dreden and his friends run them into the sea, where they enter a different universe, Brunswald, a world that is human, but very unlike their own. One of Dreden's friends is a humanoid bird that is unable to fly, and enjoys immense popularity among the inhabitants. Eventually, events begin to unfold, along with a shared backstory of the two worlds. Something powerful is destroying thousands, and Dreden realizes it could be fate that brought them here.
Brendan Walsh has gifted high fantasy fans with a rich, sweeping saga featuring magnetic characters, a multi-faceted plot, and socially relevant themes. Dredan and the other main characters are fully formed and are born from Walsh's seemingly boundless imagination. The conflict is taut and rewarding, the dialogue energetic, and the world-building is fresh and clever. There is a lot going on in this brief package. You don't want to miss a word or phrase. At its core, the story is about three imperfect friends trying to find their place in the world. It explores their relationships and the future. Alternate universe stories are almost always fun, and this one goes above and beyond the genre by making it a more personal, human story. Cipre, the editor, is an interesting character, and I appreciate the interlocking stories. The themes of diversity and acceptance are important, and the author gives great attention to even the minor characters. The meaning of the title will be nice when revealed. When you get down to it, this is a story about family, friends, and destiny. The Century's Scribe by Brendan Walsh is a must-read fantasy novel with something new to offer.