“Lost and Found” is a novella Rhonda Parrish is serializing on her blog.
Description: “Xavier has just escaped from Scholar, a mad man who held him captive and performed torturous experiments on him. Colby is a young lady from far away who is on a mission to save her brother. Armed with little more than their wits, Colby and Xavier team up and struggle to escape Scholar’s men and recover the magical artifact that will save Colby’s brother before it’s too late.”
Review: “I found the novella extremely visual and solidly based in good writing as the author is obviously knowledgeable in sentence structure and grammar, so although this was a pre-editorial copy I found it very near the level of perfection a publisher of fantasy should be eager to accept.
From the very beginning the story was quickly paced and engaging as we meet the escaping Xavier, a man altered by the mad scientist/wizard Scholar. Soon tailed by Scholar’s minions, we are made to feel his desperation as our own as he struggles across a swampy landscape where he’s helped by our second protagonist, Colby, a young woman who seeks to save her brother from a vampiric curse.
Clear cut and for the most part concise, the author’s story is carefully planned and executed with believable actions, choices and characters, and a plot which is often de rigeur in fantasy tales but has enough twists along the way to keep the reader interested. There were no abrupt changes in style or voice and although we are allowed to see the perspective from both characters throughout, I found no issues or confusion in POV, “point of view”.
There were some aspects of the story I would have wished further developed such as an explanation of how usually inanimate objects had voice and conscienceness, but having read and watched enough Vampire Hunter D, I accepted them without pause along with the information they provided. Regarding secondary yet important characters, I enjoy when they are first introduced by name in some way instead of a referral using a pronoun or description. When a name is used first, this more firmly places the character in my mind, especially if it is an unusual name which is often the case in fantasy. A little background information, even if they’ve been featured in an earlier story or book, would also be helpful for those who might have picked up later in the series.
The only true I hitch I had throughout was a desire for greater balance in descriptive phrasing. Some acts, landscapes and peoples are extremely detailed, while other scenes of note could have provided a deeper emotion engagement for me if they’d been described. For example, when Xavier was leaving a cabin on a rescue attempt, he simply left. If presented with the feelings and emotions Xavier would have been plagued by: doubt, fear, anxiety, and impatience, I felt it would have added depth to his character. The next paragraph then gives several details of footwear and clothing which I questioned.
So overall, except for the things I noted which are mostly personal preferences, “Lost and Found” is a great novella in my opinion and has plenty of room for growth with such a beautifully developed world to explore, and stories which might focuse not only on the central characters Xavier and Colby, but also on other travellers we’ve been introduced to along the way. If I had to compare to other works of fantasy, it would be books in the Dragonlance series by Magaret Weis, Tracy Hickman and others. “Lost and Found” has excellent potential and I would certainly be interested in reading further installments. ”