Every year I read the opening pages of at least fifty novels. Some in my local library. Others in bookstores or at science fiction/fantasy conventions. I particularly love perusing the giveaway books at the World Fantasy Con. Alas, relatively few of these novels grab hold of me and refuse to let go. Plus, I must do plenty of other reading to research my own stories or serve as a speaker. My completion rate of novels that aren’t self-assigned homework or written by masters of the craft is abysmal.
So imagine my delight when I picked up Glyphbinder—the debut fantasy novel by T. Eric Bakutis—and didn’t want to put it down.
As Glyphbinder opens, magic paralyzes Xander. His father and grandmother have arrived to murder his unborn daughter, Kara. His family contains gifted persons who use their own blood to scribe “glyphs”—powerful symbols capable of altering reality. The future magic potential of the unborn Kara is unusually strong. If she is permitted to survive, mind-invading demons will claim her body and soul, then destroy the world. By the end of the first chapter, Kara is allowed to live, only because Xander is forcibly separated from his pregnant wife and their true memories replaced with false ones. The demons must never read the truth and discover Kara’s identity.
In chapter two, the reader meets Kara as a nineteen-year-old student enrolled in the academy of Solyr. There are a number of magical disciplines in Kara’s world and she can scribe blood glyphs from all of them with ease. Her main goal, however, is to heal her mother, who has a painful and fatal illness. In secret, Kara gathers ingredients needed to perform a transference glyph—magic that would allow Kara to exchange bodies with her mother. But Kara encounters a wounded man on her foray for an ingredient. Wolves driven by magic attack her and the stranger.
Kara’s life changes forever.
Glyphbinder, as you can probably tell by now, has engaging characters, plenty of action, and strong forward momentum. The book does have some unsettling—bordering on horrific—scenes, however, and may not be appropriate for everyone. There are occasional point-of-view shifts, and pivotal action toward the end could have been set up better beforehand. Fuzzy minds such as my own may have trouble keeping track of all the characters. Overall, these matters are minor in comparison with the rich and exciting story. Glyphbinder is a spellbinder, and would make a great gift this holiday season—for you or fantasy readers on your holiday shopping list. You can purchase Glyphbinder (McBryde Publishing LLC) on Amazon.com.
Laurel Anne Hill (Award-Winning Author of Heroes Arise) http://www.laurelannehill.com