Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Madness Of Hallen The Madness Of Hallen
by Russell Meek
Published by Russell Meek

Supplied for review by Russell Meek

Reviewed By: Alan Robson

The Madness Of Hallen is the first book of a four volume epic fantasy by Russell Meek. It's a fairly typical plot-coupon quest fantasy. This time the quest objects are harmonic stones which contain the mind of Husam Al-Din, the man who united the tribal warriors half a millennium ago. Or, as the blurb would have it, half a millennia. Who says blurb writers have to be literate?

Ohrl and his brother Faerl have a special relationship with the stones. This is their story.

I find it amusing that the names of the brothers are homonyms of "All" and "Fail" -- I wonder if that was intentional?

The novel is 443 pages long. The story itself is about 200 pages long, if that. The rest of the page count is made up of interminable descriptions, largely irrelevant back stories attached to far too many characters, inappropriate adjectives (what on earth is "ethereal hair"?) and weird similes ("In the sea of dancing, she glided like a bird inches from the waves..."). The book is overwritten almost to the point of parody and it desperately needs a copy editor to trim the fat.

There's actually quite a reasonable story hiding inside the excessive verbiage. It's just that sometimes it is rather hard to find.

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