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Quondam by Jayel Gibson
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Quondam (2008)

by Jayel Gibson

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I was given a copy of Jayel Gibson’s fantasy novel Quondam and I was intrigued. The story itself is very much a fantasy staple, yet it brings something different to the table. Honestly, I keep replaying the story over and over in my head and I am still having a hard time describing it. Just the fact that I can continue to go over the story in my head tells me that it was fantastic. It’s not often that new stories stay with me even after I have started a new book, but I keep going back to certain passages and finding myself rethinking the events.

The story focuses on Cwen and D’raekn, two lost souls who have never had a real chance at the world. D’raekn is a child cursed and blessed upon his birth. A woodland nymph blesses him and charges him with the mission of restoring Quondam to its former glory. The false queen curses him to the world of man and that no man will ever find him worthy and always repulsive. He will only be free from his curse when a woman born under the sign of the serpent willing comes to him and speaks his true name. The only problem with his salvation is that Cwen, a woman born under the sign of the serpent, has vowed to never again love another human being. She has lost more than she has gained and she is tired of the pain.

With all great novels, you have to have great characters and I believe that Quondam has exactly those. They are complex and real. They do not try to present themselves in a fashion other than what they are and even in this fantasy world, it is not hard to relate to them. The troubles they go through, the situations they are placed in, it is all very real and plausible to us. The journey these two must make in order to find each other is painful and long. Constant obstacles are thrown in their path and it only brings us closer to them as they work through these challenges.

The plot of the story is very familiar in the sense that we have a harsh monarch who rules with an iron fist and a legend that says she will be destroyed. However, instead of taking the normal route for most fantasy novels (wherein the story arc spans over several novels), we get the entire story in one. There are times when the pace is a little off and it’s hard to judge how much time has passed, but Gibson doesn’t dawdle. She gives us what we need and then moves the story along. I will say that the final battle was a little anti-climatic, but it worked. Reading through Quondam, it was obvious that this wasn’t a tale of war and strife, but of love and redemption. The war was only secondary and getting these two individuals together was all that mattered.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel and plan on finding Gibson’s other works. Quondam is only one of the many Ancient Mirrors Tales and the other three that I know of – Dragon Queen, The Wrekening, and Damselflies. After I was finished reading this, Anne Bishop came to mind. Quondam isn’t as dark and twisted as the Black Jewels trilogy, but it has a lot of the same elements. Anyone who is a fan of Anne Bishop will have no trouble with this novel and I would seriously recommend anyone with a passion for fantasy to check this novel out.

http://www.literaryescapism.com/2008/08/28/391/ ( )
  jaxon | Nov 25, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193353883X, Paperback)

According to legend, only the dragonspawn born of both Man and dragon can unseat the usurper queen and restore order and magick to Quondam. When Cwen of Adracmora falls through a mysterious portal into Quondam, she discovers her fate and the world's are intertwined in ways that will drag her, heartbroken and vengeful, into the heart of a devastating war.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:41 -0400)

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