Read Chapter FiveLyskarion : The Song of the Wind by Janice A. Cullum
List Price: $13.95
Trade Paperback (November 2001)
Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Pub; ISBN: 1894063023
Review by Asta Sinusas

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The first time I thumbed through Lyskarion, I grew wary. The cast of characters, family trees and glossary seemed to spell only one thing: a kooky writer who was going to attempt to involve me in the minutiae of her created world. I resolved to ignore all the ancillary material and get through the story as quickly as possible, but eventually began to linger when I realized that Lyskarion was a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy.  A few more chapters and I finally got to know all the different factions involved. At the last sentence of the book, when I saw there were no more words on the page, I felt bereft.

In the Age of the Wizards, eight Karionin crystals were created. Since then, centuries have passed and there is a growing mistrust of magic and a reduction in their numbers as the search for children with the potential to become Wizards has finally borne fruit. The parents of the child must consent to a healerís training by law. However, teaching any extension beyond that is by parental consent only and each mother or father has a different reaction to learning of their childís potential.

Elise Adun is sent away to receive healerís training so she may follow her grandmotherís footsteps. In addition, it is a way for her to be removed from the call of the sea, because of her association with a boy named Errin who her grandmother feels may destroy Elise. Errin spends half a year in the sea being part of the Ingvalar (who can shape shift into dolphins), but stays on land more often as he starts his training. In the meantime, Elise is taken off and trained with Del, whose indications have the wizards thinking he could be the next leader of the Varfarin or wizardís council. However, the birth of another child puts those suppositions to rest. With astonishing potential, Jerevan needs to be trained. However, his mother is vitrolic in her hatred of magic and reluctantly has him learn to be a healer, nothing more, which poses a problem for the future for all inhabitants of the world Tamar.

The years pass and obstacles are placed between Errin and Eliseís growing attraction. Since Jerevan canít be persuaded to become a wizard, he is cursed with an eternal hunger that will only abate when he attains his full powers and breaks the curse himself. In the midst of all this, the wizards are attempting to prevent the fall of the country of Darjene to a warring army. One of the crystals falls into the wrong hands, just as the Lyskarion finally chooses its new bearer.

Lyskarionís main theme was about the call of duty, where potential is found and the obligation it entails is not necessarily welcome. Starting the book seemed like a duty, but in the end Cullumís potential made it worthwhile. Looking back, were I to read the book twenty times, there would be enough richness to sustain my interest and always something more for me to explore. This is a wonderful work of fantasy that readers of the Dune series might enjoy as the action jumps from place to place and characters dance on and off the stage for solos and different pairings. The only criticism I have is that as Ms. Cullum develops her craft, I would like for her to toy a bit more and make the reader come to conclusions on their own instead of giving away the candy store. In addition, The characters are developed slowly and face internal and external challenges as they strive to meet their full potential and mature before the eyes of the reader. This is an enjoyable, solid piece of fantasy writing.

© 2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu