CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 17 . . . .April 13, 2007
Nightwalker, the first book in "The Warlocks of Talverdin" series, is a fast paced adventure story in the "other world" tradition of the fantasy genre. Johansen has succeeded in creating a believable world complete with a geographically detailed map of this other world which is inhabited by two historical enemies, the human Dunmorran and the wizardly Nightwalkers. Ever since the creation of Hogwart's and the sleepy academic world in Pullman's epic, educational institutions such as universities and private schools have invaded the Medieval landscapes which have always been predominated by castles and fortresses as fit settings for fantasy tales. The dark and twisting basements of Fowler Green Grammar School at the University of Cragroyal in Dunmorran provide a dramatic setting for the chase between our hero and the school bullies, and the darkness of the tunnels allows him to blend into the shadows and introduce the reader to his special magical power and pull the reader into the story very quickly.
The theme of this novel, according to the definition on the title, is prejudice, and the author manages to convey this theme through the voices, habits and descriptions of the events and characters naturally. On a simpler level, the story is conflict between the goodies, the wizards of Talverdine, and the baddies, the blond humans of Dunmorra. Both races have a long history of hating each other, and the reader is made aware of this by the effects of prejudice on Maurey as he recounts the tragic and mysterious story of his birth and how, all his life, Maurey has had to hide in the Talverdine blond society as a 'foreigner.' Maurey, our hero, is subject to prejudice because of his pale skin tone, straight black hair and dark eyes that people connect to the magical race of Nightwalkers, another race of people confined to the mountains of their island.
Janet Margaret Johnson is a librarian and member of Children's Research Centre for Young People's Text and Culture at the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.