Fantasia Crutch is the latest installment in the award winning The Chronicles of Narnia series. The first book in the series was The Sands of Time and this is a tale chronicling the daily life of Mary, a young woman who lives in Narnia. It’s the beautiful Willowbrook Station that attracts the reader to this book. Willowbrook Station is a station on the Great River Road that reaches Narnia. It was originally a gold-mining station and is still run by the Narnia Company today.
Mary is an orphan and is desperate to find her long-lost brother, Owen, who went missing while on a business trip. She is described as beautiful and a hundred years old. But this is far from true. In truth, she is ailing and wheelchair bound. The reader soon realizes that her disability is what has brought her here and not the other way round as was implied in the first novel. The only thing that can help her is the enchanted sand, which is able to help her restore her youth and to communicate with the deceased Owen.
It is the sand, which has the power of turning back time, that is the key to understanding what is going on in this book and the events that follow. This fantasia crutch is written in first person and so we feel as though we are part of the story. Ms. Crutch has managed to create a unique and appealing character, one which is very different from the other modern-day fantasy novel, The Chronicles of Narnia. She has created a young adult reading experience with this book.
The story follows Mary as she wanders through the woods with a stick tied to her ankle. We soon realize that her real age is not forty, but in fact, fifty. It is then revealed that her real name is Vivienne. After years of being treated like a child, Mary has finally decided to do something about her situation. She meets Vivienne’s father, John, and they become friends.
The other main character is Owen, who is the main thrust of the story. Although he appears to be a little lost, he is actually a very insightful and intelligent man. He tells Mary that he remembers his own mother’s life in St. Petersburg, which was quite traumatic. Owen and Vivienne become good friends, whilst also learning that their mother’s were not really the first people to die in the house.
The St. Petersburg itself is a place in time, much like our own, which makes it a very interesting setting for this novel. There is a lot of magic and machinery involved and there are many monsters prowling around. It also explains why all the characters are named after animals. This also helps to give some continuity between the book and the television series.
Another fantastic aspect of the book is that Mr. Crutch keeps us guessing regarding how long he will be writing for the TV series. He keeps telling us that it will last for three seasons, but it does look like he may be hinting at something else. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
If you like fantasy romance, then this book is for you. The Fantaia Crutch will make you crave for more of Mr. Crutch’s writing, because it is just as good as anything out there. I highly recommend this book if you are a fantasy lover or a book lover. If you have a little less time to spare, then start with something like The Lost Boys, or something like Neverwhere by Mr. Michael Chiklis.