By Ty Johnson
Waking amid battle, the warrior Bayne has no recollection of his past, of his life, of himself. Believing the mad emperor-mage Verkanus holds the keys to his past, Bayne pursues the wizard across years and unto a mountain. Here, Bayne must climb to find Verkanus and to find himself, and among the crags are oddities and dangers never witnessed by lesser men.
In part an allegorical tale, the short novel Bayne’s Climb is the first part of The Sword of Bayne trilogy.
This short novel also takes place in the same world as the author’s Kobalos Trilogy, but nearly 2,000 years before the events of those books.
I liked the tale’s beginning and end; the concept was reminding me of Lord of the Rings. The setting takes place upon a fictional ‘middle earth,’ there is a man who is being pursued, and the main character, Bayne, needs to fulfill an ultimate quest to find out who he is and where he stands in light of humanity. In midst of his journeys, he even denies the most comforting pleasures in life, marriage, friendship, and revenge. I was beginning to share sympathies with Bayne throughout the entire book because he does not know when and where to express his emotions. In one sense I feel there is a sense of guilt coming from his mysterious behavior while on the other side he does a very good job trying to be faithful to his yearning for purpose.
The author does a tremendously good job by creating a memorable character. Like I expressed earlier in posts and reviews to other authors, there needs to be some motivating reason to make any reader want to turn a page. In this case, the desire for fulfillment in a fantasy epic is one of the few things that will get anyone to read on. Bayne’s quest for answers and truth are the main reasons to get anyone to read more of the book and move on to find out the answers.
The Really Good:
The Christian themes to Bayne’s quest are classic, right along with John Bunyan and C.S. Lewis. The moment I began reading more of the story, I started to see the parallelisms between Christians, the world, and unsaved. To some extent, the book reminded me of reading the book Pilgrim’s Progress which delves into the discussion about the walks of a true Christian in the light of life. In this case, the author has done an exceptional job with attempting to show Christian truths.
In light of the positive things said, I tend to think a couple of problems with the overt transparency with the story’s theme. While there is nothing wrong with attempting to illustrate Christian truths, there is something wrong when the author attempts to insert too much of them simultaneously in the book altogether. For a non-Christian audience, I would not think there would be too much of a problem since most have never heard of these key phrases like ‘immortal, invisible’ and think ‘God only wise’ from a Baptist hymnal.
The other problem I had is that there needs to be more background information with Bayne’s overall character. He needs to have some type of past event that shapes him into the way he is. That tends to be difficult for authors of a novella, however, to make a story more effective that needs to happen with as much effective information as possible.
The last thing that needs some tweaking is the openings, closings, and of course the dialoguing in the chapters; there needs to be some satisfaction for the reader to feel like he can relate to the book and the characters to move on. Most authors have difficulty in trying to establish a kind of relationship with the reader, but with that in mind he or she needs to make the book much tighter in its dialogue, exposition, and of course the endings because the nature of these books are so tremendously short.