Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Book Review of Remedy by Heidi Vlach review by Stephen B. Pearl

            On rare occasions one is privileged to be present at the start of something spectacular. This, the first book by Heidi, may just be such a privilege. Heidi has an excellent grasp of interpersonal relationships adding a level of depth and reality to her characters interactions that one seldom sees. Her characters themselves are interesting “people” who you not only get to know but want to get to know. The affection, and in some places ire, they hold for each other resonates from the page into the reader’s heart. For myself I found a great camaraderie with Peregrine, a Korvie, an intelligent flying queasy dragon, who has traded a good measure of his health to do a task that needed to be done. Korvie are one of three intelligent races sharing the world that Remedy is set in.
            Heidi has done a fair job of allowing the unique biology of her three races to affect their behaviour just when you begin to forget that you aren’t reading about Homo sapiens something happens to remind you of the differences that make the species unique.
            The story lines are about duty and striving to do the right thing over the easy thing. Heidi doesn’t make her world overly dark or sickly sweet, she makes it real with people standing up to a horrific event that could crush them. Some fall, others rise and some are held helpless by their own pressing needs.
            The writing flows well and draws you through the pages holding suspense until almost the end.
            Now what cost the fifth star? This is Heidi’s first novel and it isn’t perfect, very very good though. Her world building could use some work using things like dogs and recognisable plant names kind of jerked me out of the read. There may be an explanation for why these things exist on a world of Korvi, Ferrin, and Aemat but I didn’t find it in the book. The climax came a little early leaving over long for the epilogue. I know some of the factors that lead to this. When one writes about a plague one is torn between the reality which is that plagues peter out and the desire to have a smash of an ending. Still and all it is what it is in the story. This second is a lesser fault because by that point I just wanted to hang with Peregrine and the gang for a few more pages, but the end could have been tighter.
            That said I give this book a very strong four out of five stars. Heidi has great talent a fine voice and I hope a bright future as a writer. Anything I saw as a fault will be corrected by experience and as it stands Remedy is a fine work better than most of the fantasy out there and quite unique in both theme and voice.
            Congratulations Heidi a well earned four out of five stars. For more visit www.heidicvlach.com .