Janette's Tale by Mark Patrick

Title: Janette’s Tale: 
The Chronicles of the White Tower, Book One
Author: Mark Patrick
Lyrical Press, Incorporated
September, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-61650-073-3
173 pages

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Janette is 16 years old and supporting her sick brother by working as a huntress for her village. When a mysterious knight saves her from being raped, Janette’s entire life becomes a whirlwind. First her brother dies (suspiciously), then some unpleasant people come looking for Janette or, more specifically, they come looking for a sapphire necklace her brother had passed on to her.

As it turns out, Janette and her sapphire are also the reason Conrad, her rescuing knight, is in the area. He explains his connection to the troubled order of the White Tower and convinces Janet to return with him to his order’s stronghold. When Janette goes to retrieve her hidden valuables within the local standing stones, she is unexpectedly visited by The Goddess and given a great gift: the power to heal through touch (laying on of hands).

Pursued from the very beginning of their journey, Conrad and Janette work their way toward his homeland, gathering many friends and becoming embroiled in the intense politics of the time.

Jannette’s Tale
reads effortlessly, which is a compliment to the author, Mark Patrick. The story is also mildly reminiscent of Robin Hood, which adds a familiar flair to an otherwise original tale. The characters fit loosely into a medieval world, both of which are described in believable fashion; Patrick knows how to create characters with depth and settings that work well for the story he is telling.

However, Mark Patrick’s story, while interesting, feels more like a child's or a young adult's fantasy adventure. The problem is simple: Janette is given enough special abilities she becomes too powerful to ever be in real danger. In fact, in every difficulty or battle, the reader will find that Janette and friends never face any trouble they can’t easily deal with. Simply put, Janette's Tale is too nice. The piece needs a rewrite, making the battle scenes and dangers much more threatening, much more challenging to solve and much more visceral.

I like Janette’s Tale. Mark Patrick just needs to understand the importance of writing to his audience.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye      

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