Ancient Canada

Ancient Canada - Clinton Festa This book is fascinating in many ways and the author has an incredible imagination. Set in an ancient land of semi-medieval technology, it resembles fantasy more than anything, while there are shreds of our world there, especially in the names, the world is extremely different from ours.From Lichen to the feathermen, there is a lot of creativity here. We have a vast array of characters and creatures that largely dodge previous stories and patterns we have seen over and over again in fantasy. Lavender’s gift is also pretty unusual – not least of which because the power creep that is so common was resisted. Yet, despite not expanding her powers to control life and death, we still see a lot of very creative uses for it – from writing their book about poisonous food, to using it as a guide for safety, avoiding those paths where her death is imminent in favour of safer ones. It’s a unique way to give someone the limited ability of a Seer.This is also a book that analyses a lot of issues (albeit not in a way that I found ideal). We have in depth discussions on the nature of evil, on passive and aggressive personalities, on ways to negotiate a homogenous culture when one is Other, on class, on welfare, on being fat, on sexism, on privatisation vs nationalisation, on mental illness, on freedom, on selfishness and self-perception, on self-worth, on the value of diversity and many more. Every story had at least one intense debate or examination of one of these concepts and more besides. There’s a lot of deep thinking in this book and a lot of urges to think as well – it encourages the reader to explore these concepts and follow the character’s paths.Marigold and Lavender also work extremely well together. Lavender is overly serious, but Marigold is fun and often hilariously funny, adding a lightness to the book (albeit, also adding considerable, inappropriate distractions as well).The story is as much a story of the world as much as it is Lavender and Marigold, with many of the chapters focused on the countries and cultures and creatures within it rather than just their story. It was a sight seeing tour in many ways – occasionally creating redundancies and distractions, but serving to show case these lands and the debates that arise from themThe problem is that this book has a writing style I don’t care for. It is over-written, it may be the most over-written book I’ve read – and I’ve read Dickens. The most glaring of this is the descriptions – things are described in incredible, and unnecessary, detail; people talk in extremely over-wordy and stilted fashion, conversations more a series of speeches delivered to each other. Frankly, the book is over 700 pages long and could quite possibly be halved without loss.Read More