Let me start by saying I’ve not read anything by M.R. Mathias before at all so Foxwise (The Legend of Vanx Malic #2.1) is my very first encounter with this author.
Foxwise is a short story, which is an off-shoot of the The Legend of Vanx Malic series. It side steps into giving you a short story and a little more background into one of a character that is just about to enter the main series and as I understand it comes to be quite a main character.
It was (and still is at the moment) free on Kindle, so I thought I would give it a go and hopefully get a good feel for the author.
Foxwise or General Foxwise Posy-Thorn to give him is full name – is a fairy/pixie type creature and he is the best of the best in Queen Corydalis guard. Being Fae, they live in a peaceful valley hidden from the eyes of many other creatures. There is a perpetual state of spring in the Valley so everything is young, green and lush. Unfortunately the oldest tree – the Heart Tree, which protects the whole valley and the fae with it’s magic has been poisoned by the Hoar Witch.
Enter the typical fantasy quest! The queen requests the best of her smartest, fiercest and most loyal to retrieve the “Shard” that can heal the tree and defend the realm. So Foxwise teams up with Barb and Bristle to journey outside of their protected boundries and into the Overland, where danger is everywhere for these small creatures.
Short stories can be really great, unfortunately this one isn’t. You barely get to know any of the characters and so really struggle to have anything to hold onto in the short time it takes to read this book. It reads far too much like a children’s TV show – this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens – it’s overly simple. Which I was rather disappointed about since Mathias – from what I’ve read – is a great epic fantasy writer, I expected much more.
However there are some endearing and funny moments that broke it up slightly. You do really want to like the characters and root for them, so it’s a shame there isn’t quite enough for you to identify with them.
Perhaps this makes for better reading if you’ve read the series (or are reading the series) but as a standalone read, it’s pretty poor. My guess is it was wrote specifically to create a little hype for the next installment of the series – it’s filler. Too bad because with either a little more work it could be a great short story (and thus a much better introduction to the author – at least I’m hoping the rest of his work is better) or with a little rewriting, it could be a nice little children’s book.
I really wanted to like this, but it just lacks that something.
Have you read anything by M.R. Mathias? Is his main work better than this? Thoughts?