Reviews - What do customers think about The Land of the Wand?
What Would You Do if You Found That Everything You Knew About Religion Was Wrong?... Nov 7, 2007
The Lost Myths Saga chronicles the journey of four ordinary human beings who end up in a world that's anything but ordinary. Through the use of magical portals (similar to the Portkeys of the Harry Potter universe), a writer, an architect, a rock star, and a fast-food server are transported from a mall in Chicago to a place called The Land of the Wand. I won't go into plot details, as I don't want to spoil the story for anyone.
Each character's arrival is told through four separate Prologues, which is a nice departure from traditional book formatting, and is a clever and interesting way to start things off. Authors Debora and Sandra waste no time in setting our four heros off on their journey, however, the pacing drastically tapers off after the prologues. This could prove to be a problem if it weren't for the exquisit storytelling. The plot and characters are engaging, making the book a real page-turner and almost impossible to put down. While explanations of just what exactly is going on aren't answered until the last third or so of the book, the reader is very seldom lost or frustrated by this.
Anyone familiar with New Age ideas and teachings will be pleasantly entertained by the subtle, deeper levels of the story:
-The four heros don't just simply grow throughout the book, they're a study on Archtypial personalities. Four major types - The Fool, The Warrior, The Messiah, and The Maiden - are explored through Evan, Valaura, Marshall, and Lillian respectively. Each character's past and Land of the Wand archtype must be explored if they are to grow as people.
-Another clever theme is the use of The Tarot. This is most obvious by the names of the four kingdoms, as each one is represented by one of the four suits: Wand, Cup, Sword, and Pentacle. Each kingdom displays aspects associated with their suit, and this is cleverly woven throughout the story.
-The biggest New Age influence is the very plot itself: religion. The four kingdoms are obviously Pagan in nature, while their enemies are (Old Testament) Christian. But Debora and Sandra do more than just assign religion to their characters: they bring in the history behind Paganism and Christianity, apply it to their Tarot world, and use it as a reflection and study on the origin of faith and the influence on, and of, modern beliefs. This could be seen as offensive to some (mainly those in mainstream Christianity), but anyone with an open mind is sure to enjoy the authors' philisophical explorations and thoughts on faith.
However, like all things, the book does have some flaws. As mentioned earlier, the pacing can be quite sluggish and explanations delayed. At one point in the story, there's a Lillian and a Lillith. While Lillian is thankfully called Lily most of the time, having two characters with almost identical names gets pretty confusing, especially when they share the same scenes. Marshall's on-stage comments about Lily during his concert seem pretty corny for a famous rock-star, but they're short, saving both Marshall and Lily major embarassment in front of a stadium full of people. And while the ending of the book seems a bit akward, it's saved by the commradery of the four heros and leaves the reader hoping that we'll get to see more of them in the future.
The Land of the Wand is a fairly easy read in and of itself. One doesn't have to get into the deeper meanings in order to enjoy it. It is, for all intents and purposes, a modern adult fairy tale. Teens might find it interesting, but it really isn't anything that children are going to understand. All in all, this is an excellent start for Debora and Sandra, and a worthy add to any bookshelf.
terrific allegorical fantasy Apr 27, 2006
In an import store at Chicago's Illinois Center mall, four seemingly normal Homo Sapiens are drawn to a wand on display. They cannot resist its lure though the quartet (Swedish heavy metal rock star Marshall Storm of the group Stockholm, fantasy author Evan Stone, architect Valaura Bennet, and Burger World server Lillian Curtis) appears to have nothing in common. That is until the wand transports them into a strange place like nothing any of them have ever seen before.
They meet the "Daemona" people with hooves who are under assault by a stunningly gorgeous winged race Anjeles who want to eradicate the species. The Daemona consider the foursome as their saviors with pacifist Marshal as the champion and the remaining peace-loving trio his helpers. Hoping to prevent ethnic cleansing, the transported earthlings struggle to understand their hosts led by four sibling rival monarchs (Nicholas, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, and Lucifer) battling one another as much as the adversary and the Anjeles whose King Yahoo rules in Paradiso. Give peace a chance seems unlikely in a realm where holy war is the norm.
This is a terrific allegorical fantasy that grips readers once the four humans are introduced (cleverly done in separate prologues to open the tale) and never slows down until the final Stockholm Concert. The story line is action-packed but intelligently uses tiny spins such as names of monarchs and species to provide a "truth" somewhat differing from religions back home. Readers will believe that the four heroes left the Midwest for another dimension as they seem genuine throughout making their Gulliver like travels seem authentic. This one sitting saga is worth the journey.
Enjoyable twist on the fantasy tradition Mar 25, 2006
Four people walk into a gift shop in Chicago, touch an artistic wand, and are transported into an alternate dimension--a dimension where the people have hooves and call themselves "daemona" (demons) and are under attack by a beautiful winged race called Anjeles (angels). The four, normal humans, are identified as the savior (a Swedish heavy metal rock star named Marshal Storm) and his assistants (SF author Evan Stone, architect Valaura Bennet, and Burger World waitress Lillian Curtis).
Although Marshal is identified as the savior, he definitely doesn't want the job. He's a pacifist, and the idea of slaughtering anyone, even a group who torture their captives in misguided attempts to save them, is offensive to him. Valaura, despite being a woman, is a far more deadly opponent in the field. Still, the four realize that the daemona must be protected from the continued attacks. Unfortunately, no one has found a way to communicate with the anjeles and without communication, it seems that the answer can only be the complete extinction of one group or the other.
As they come to terms with a parallel universe where standard humans don't exist, and the sapient beings are a strange reflection of the Medieval Church's mythology, the Evan and Marshal rely on their Earthly talents--in words and music, in an attempt to communicate with the young anjeles whom Valaura and Lillian manage to capture. But the king of the anjeles doesn't want peace--and his people esteem him as a god. No solution seems feasible. Meanwhile, the four explore the attraction that springs up between them, an attraction somewhat complicated by the competition from the daemona who find both the male and female humans to be highly attractive. Then too, staying a pacifist in the face of people for whom war is a holy calling is extremely difficult.
Authors Debora Hill and Sandra Brandenberg offer a refreshingly different slant on the familiar story of Earth humans apported to a new world. Instead of mighty warriors intended to bring victory in war, our protagonists are pacifists, who hope to wage peace. This turnaround in the conventions of fantasy is paralleled by the reversal in having demons (with names like Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Lilith, and Beelzebub). If you're looking for a different take on fantasy, you'll want to check out THE LAND OF THE WAND.
A charmed fantasy... Mar 1, 2006
A charmed, romantic story, filled with true-love, sense and nonsense. The artful magic of this well-crafted tale kept pulling me forward, suspending my disbelief even while turning its' pages, and setting me in its' parallel world of delightful and challenging anomalies. The Land of the Wand is truly worth the time reading, and you may find you admire Ms. Hill and Mrs. Brandenburg as I do!
Fabulous fantasy Mar 1, 2006
Three Americans and a touring Swedish rock star are transported from modern-day Chicago to a parallel universe where hoofed "demons" are the good guys, angels are the bad guys, snow is blue and people ride on giant cats with pink manes. Follow Marshall, Evan, Lillian and Valaura as they gather in this strange but beautiful place, meet, find love, and try to stop a war. Engaging characters, intelligent dialog and a mesmerizing plot-line all add up to a magnificent read. Ms. Hill and Ms. Brandenburg are a great team -- I can't wait for Volume 2! --