Darkfall
Isobelle Carmody

Cover Darkfall is the first book in The Legendsong trilogy. Sisters, Glynn and Ember, are spending what little time they have left together on holiday in the Mediterranean. Ember is dying. She has an inoperable brain tumour. On their last night before returning home they go for a midnight swim. They both swim far further than either expected. A bermuda triangle like rift in the sea draws them through to the world of Keltor. They become separted by the transference, and Ember loses her memory.

The book then divides into two sections running contemporaneously. One following Glynn as she stuggles to get by in the new world and tries to find her sister. The other follows Ember who is also trying to cope with her new world and trying to find out who she is, since she has lost her memory.

Between the chapters changing between the perspectives of the sisters is a short segue. This is told from the perspective of a creature called the Watcher. They invariably take place back on Earth, the Unraveller's world. The Watcher is following traces of the Firstborn, the Unykorn. And it discovers Chaos and the Song have arrived in the Unraveller's world. What all of this means isn't entirely revealed in the book, but it doesn't need to be as 'Darkfall' is only the first book in the trilogy.

'Darkfall' is not your garden variety fantasy, it breaks away from the traditional medieval setting of most fantasy books. The world Isobelle has created does follow some traditional fantasy elements. The society is pre-industrial. But the landscape is far from the traditional pseudo-European setting.

The first land Glynn encounters on Keltor is the island kingdom of Acantha. It rises straight out of the sea in sheer cliffs and the top is a near barren windswept plateu. The population lives in caves carved out of the sea-bound mesa. Amongst the population is an elite group of people known as the Windwalkers. With the aid of artificial wings (think Icarus) and the power of their minds they are able to fly. Then there are the Wavespeakers who control the sea trade routes on Keltor. As planets go, Keltor is wet. It has a smaller land/sea ratio then Earth.

For all it's imagination there are also a couple of aspects where it falls flat. The Myrmidorians are Amazon clones and the wise oriental martial arts instructor is cliche, especially as Glynn falls in love with him and he meets a tragic end.

It is written with an easy to read style, no obtuse language or strange names for commonplace objects. It was a very enjoyable book. I am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy, especially to find out where the enigmatic segues are leading.