Saturday, 9 February 2013

Xannu: The Healing (The Southern Lands Book 2) - Paul Dorset



Title: Xannu - The Healing (The Southern Lands Book 2)
Author: Paul Dorset
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2005
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
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“Xannu – The Healing” is the 2nd novel in the Southern Land Saga and it follows directly on from the events that occurred in “Xannu – The Prophecy” which I previously reviewed here. This review therefore will contain some spoilers about “Xannu – The Prophecy” and I would therefore advise people to read my review of the first novel and then decide if they wish to give the series a try.

As said above, this novel picks up directly after the events of the first novel with the cast of characters remaining pretty much unchanged. In our own world, Terry is suffering guilt due to his friend Joe seemingly vanishing into an epic fantasy styled world known as the Southern Lands. He also is trying to survive the other regular aspects of being a young teenager as he tries to understand his feelings for Susan who has begun to take a much more active role in his life. In the Southern Lands themselves however the of Tern, Joe, Maria, Matthius and Selene are splitting up in an attempt to heal certain members of the group who have become ill. Tern, Matthius and Selene must travel to The Unforgiving, a desolate place where it is hoped that Matthius’ battle injuries can be treated. Meanwhile Joe and Maria must travel to the island of Tane where it is hoped that the Sorceresses may be able to help Joe so that he can return home.

Once again Dorset had created a rather fast paced and entertaining fantasy novel that was fundamentally entertaining. I think the best elements of the novel were in regards to the sections which were set in our own world. I loved getting to see how Terry really begins to grow into a teenager with all the relevant levels of emotional change and associated struggles. His fledgling relationship with Susan is at times quite amusing and I enjoyed following his struggles to understand his feelings whilst Susan herself seemed to know exactly what she wanted. In addition, it was really interesting getting to discover that several other people in Terry’s life have had experience of the Southern Lands and it really piqued by curiosity about why and how this was happening.

The fantasy sections of the novel however were probably missing a little bit of the excitement and thrills that I witnessed in the previous novel. It was still enjoyable to follow what was going on but these sections of the novel did suffer the most from middle book syndrome as it felt like the author was trying to set up the events of future novels. The characters however continued to be both believable and easy to emphasize with which ensured that I never wanted to skip sections even with rather limited overall progression in the fantasy elements of the story.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable follow up novel that offers up a huge amount of promise for future books in the series. Whilst the overall story progression in the Southern Lands specifically was limited, I felt that this was more than made up for by the development we see in the characters in our own world. Personally, I am looking forward to picking up the 3rd book in the series so I can see where the story is going next.