Review: “The Shadow of the Gryphon” by Lara Lee


The Shadow of the Gryphon by Lara Lee. 345 pages. Bite-Sized Exegesis.

As part of the speculative Christian fiction thread on Goodreads I belong to, I was asked to review Lara Lee’s Christian fantasy book, The Shadow of the Gryphon. Here’s the Amazon summary:

Join three travelers on a witty adventure set in an exotic fairy world. An unusual brownie adventurer named Arthur, and the twin princes, Timothy and Nathaniel, join forces to travel to the underside of their coin-shaped world to break the curse that has turned Nathaniel’s fiancee into stone. Arthur must face his traumatic past as he leads Nathaniel and Timothy on the same journey that killed his friends more than forty years before, getting them all stuck far from home with only one impossible way home. Things continue to go wrong when they learn that this curse is just the beginning of more significant problems threatening to destroy the Guardian of the Ocean. Struggling through a debilitating injury, Nathaniel must risk everything to save the ones he loves. Timothy must let go of his dark magic past to use his fire magic against the alliance that threatens to destroy the world with water.

As you can see, this is true high fantasy, and it took me a little bit to get used to characters with fuzzy tails and that stand two feet tall. But the three main characters, Arthur, Timothy and Nathaniel, are developed well and the reader get attached to them. There’s no danger of getting them confused either, as each has their own singular strengths as well as weaknesses. There’s action, mystery and camaraderie in the story, enough to keep you going to the end, although I believe it was a little slow-going at first.

Lee’s story shows a lot of creativity and imagination. It includes a world made up of a disk where one can literally sail off the edge of it. It’s the process of getting from one side of this flat world to the other that creates the biggest problem. It’s a story unlike any that I’ve ever read.

On the side of things to be improved, the book was in need of an editor. I found multiple typos, and use of wrong tense on verbs. But that problem didn’t bother me as much as one that on its surface seems pretty minor, yet really bothered me. Formatting. The book was set flush left, with no space between paragraphs and no indents at the beginning of paragraphs. That gave the reader the impression that the story was all one paragraph. It seems simple, and probably could still be fixed relatively easy. But it was highly annoying.

The story was enjoyable to read, but because of the editing and formatting issues, I give it three and a half stars out of five. I wish the author success as she continues with this series.

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