Fantasy


Many-Coloured Realm

Award-winning Finalist in the Fiction: Fantasy/Sci-Fi category of the 2011 International Book Awards

A ReadPlus Review

This fantasy has a very complicated plot and needs close scrutiny. The reference to numbers is fascinating for they have a symmetry all of their own and when teaching mathematics joy comes when a student picks the connection. In this book, other than the paragraph about the author, the mathematical illusion is difficult to pick, but the concept of the way numbers form patterns is beautiful and magical.

The story revolves around Robbie, Chris and the missing Stephen. The young people enter other worlds through the chimney and here begins the roller coaster ride. There are many wonderful modern day comparisons, for example, when the swans bicker and honk their disagreement and want a stop work meeting to discuss the situation. All this amidst a storm about to destroy the boat they are pulling! It’s a very humorous situation and often replicated in real life!

Younger readers may struggle with the rapidly changing scenes. The delightful play on words reminds the reader of Philip Pullman’s The Scarecrow and his Servant. Time change has a huge effect on the plot. This is a book for students who love other worlds, extravagant and exaggerated characters, humour and the many ways of interpreting our language. It’s quite a sophisticated novel but readers of adolescent years may enjoy a challenge after Harry Potter and this could be an intriguing follow on.

It would be a wonderful classroom read for the discussion that would ensue would entail freedom, love, particularly self belief for Robbie but overall, a delightful foray into another world with challenges just like ours! A book for students and teachers. Well recommended for good Upper Primary and Early Secondary students and their teachers

Sue Nosworthy

A BUG IN A BOOK review

Because I haven’t read a fantasy type novel for many years I think I had forgotten how amazing they can be.  As a writer I have gained a huge respect for authors of fantasy novels while reading Anne Hamilton’s Many–Coloured Realm.  The imagination and knowledge involved in creating this story is incredible.  Anne Hamilton has produced an amazing journey of knowledge and self discovery.  It is filled with truths about humanity and life while being an extrodinary story of ulterior realms, beings and adventures all intertwined with astonishing skill.

Many–Coloured Realm is the story of an ordinary girl who finds herself in a very un-ordinary situation.  Robby is a nice girl, and as you read on you discover that calling someone nice isn’t the compliment it seems to be.  However, it is this niceness that gets Robby into this most peculiar situation.

When her study partners go missing, neither of which she is particularly fond of, they did leave her to do all the work after all.  She sets off to find the pranksters and discovers they are not actually playing any kind of trick on her at all, but by then it is too late.  She has crossed into another realm while following one, and her ‘friends’ need help.  At first Robbie doesn’t know where she is or even which way is up, gravity can misbehave in other realms.  Thrust straight into the deep end Robbie has to face challenges from start to finish, but she is not alone on this adventure, not at all.  Aside from her bully study partner’s brother who followed her into the realm (and is almost a polar opposite to his brother in personality), she meets a great many different characters, from a Goblin King, a moon child and the phoenix to elves and a variety of animals both recognisable and entirely foreign, all with the ability to communicate and several other talents also.  Robby soon discovers Stephen (the bully) is trapped in a life threatening situation (an immerment actually) and so she has to rescue him by taking on tasks which could go terribly amiss if she sets a foot wrong.  This isn’t easy when you have no understanding of the world you are in.

If that isn’t enough there is trouble in the Many–Coloured Realm.  War is fast approaching, war which could destroy the realm and all those in it, war with no natural barriers, war against demons.

The Many–Coloured Realm is full of unlikely friendships, mysterious events and valuable lessons.

Anne Hamilton has given me an imagination awakening; it is simply beyond my ability to conceive that level of detailed creativity in devising realms that don’t even follow natural laws.  Plump with twists and unimaginable mysteries, Many–Coloured Realm is worth checking out, fantasy lovers!

A Bug in a Book review  Angela Hall

Southern Cross review

One nice girl, two bad boys, three tortuous tasks, four strange ambassadors…after that, it’s hard to keep count. Anne Hamilton’s book is a work of considerable breadth and depth, with possibly the largest cast of characters since The Lord Of The Rings (the whole trilogy).

It references C.S. Lewis (his fantasy and sci-fi novels), as well as Lewis Carroll (rabbits, young girls, dark passageways, bizarre creatures), as well as including almost every form of medieval mythical creature, with not a witch or a wizard or a vampire in sight!

Robby is a school girl who, while searching for Neil and Stephen, stumbles across an entryway to a mysterious place and tumbles into an adventure that crosses many worlds and time zones.

She befriends goblins, elves, the Queen of Sprites and a talking penguin. All this under the growing presence of the malevolent Zzael.

What delighted me about this book is the sense of humour. The Goblin King promises to release Stephen if Robby can tell him his true name. “No, it’s not Rumplestiltzskin… Why does everyone say that?” I particularly loved the wonderful Lady Peddy who has a fascination with tautology. Also, absolutely gorgeous drawings, every four pages or so, really help lock in the characters and keep track of the plot development.

This is definitely a book written by an author with a Christian worldview but Hamilton does not use a sledgehammer to get her message across. It is more the Madeleine L’Engle technique of subtlely emphasising the power of love, the importance of choices and the awareness of the ongoing struggle between good and evil. One of the pithy comments about the human condition: “Humans are a great paradox. They are noble and they are monstrous.”

This is a very intelligent book, with many layers of imagination and wisdom. It has been picked up by primary schools across Australia.

Kara Martin

The Southern Cross review is an extract of a more detailed review at sydneyanglicans.net which may be found here.

Last night I finished Many-Coloured Realm. The journey was amazing. I’ve never read a book like it before. I am completely awed by your mind and thoroughly enjoyed being carried into so many places I could never have imagined on my own. I know there is so much more in there that I haven’t fully grasped and I’m looking forward to reading it again. You truly have an incredible gift. I will be recommending it to many people – both teenagers and adults. My husband is the next one I am insisting has to read it : ) Not that he minds very much. He’s a science fiction/fantasy reader from way back.

Jenny Glazebrook

Many-Coloured Realm is a wonderful book full of great characters and lots of twists and turns J I thoroughly enjoyed it and bought it for my granddaughter plus extra copies to give to all her school friends.

Lynne Churchyard

 

I feel as if my feet haven’t touched back into the real world yet. Many-Coloured Realm is like no other parable, fantasy, allegory or epic I’ve ever read before. What a stunning stand-off between the forces of good and evil! Those fantastic characters have still got a hold on my mind. Genius!

Robby and Chris have entered the shabby, colourless realm of the goblins to rescue Chris’ brother Stephen from a hopeless looking predicament. But how can they help when the king of the goblin realm is so deliberately vague about what their quest will involve? What is he trying to hide? Their journey to find out involves meetings with elves, sprites, sirens, a helpful muse and a forgetful phoenix. What they finally discover is mind-blowing.

As a fantasy author and homeschooling mother myself, plenty of fantasy has passed through our doors. Lewis, Tolkien, Rodda, Rowling, L’Engle and Colfer to name just a few. Many-Coloured Realm is second to none. A book that combines drama and science with nail-biting suspense is a book to be held onto. Add the whimsical and hilarious and you have a classic!

Paula Vince ~ Author of the Quenarden Chronicles

YOUR BOOK RULZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I thought your book was awesome. A few questions, though.

Can you plz tell me what Zzael was afraid of? Plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The names were really hard to pronounce and I had to look in the book to see the correct spelling. In fact I have it right here as I’m typing. The book wasn’t really obvious and oh I forgot: why didn’t Chris swap places with Stephen when he wished it? Other than that your book was really cool, my favourite character was Artemys.

Sandy (aged 10)

I’ve been reading Many-Coloured Realm for a while now and I think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

My favourite character was Artemys the penguin. He had great personality that fit him well. The goblin king was a character that to me seemed sort of a mystery but that made the book even more interesting. The part I liked best was when they met Neil again when they could either go to the place with the winged cats or go to the place with the thimblethorns. At first I thought they would go to the winged cats but then I started to lean more towards the thimblethorns. But when Neil told them the way to get past them was by throwing a shoe at them, well, that was a pretty good way to get them out of the way. Of course this meant that “pack mode” was pretty useless.

Great book, love reading it.

Jeremy (aged 10)

 

Flying Friends and Faith: Well written with a complex plot, Many-Coloured Realm is not for the impatient reader or someone out for a simple straight-forward read.

The plot of Many-Coloured Realm revolves around the attempts of notorious nice girl, Robby Alveretti, selfless and caring Chris Pierce, and flying penguin Artemys to save Chris’s step-brother, bullyboy Stephen. Other characters include the mysterious goblin King, the Sprite Queen Tamarlane, Lady Pedantica and a cohort of elves.

Along the way, they try to understand time in a strange world. They look for answers of the true nature of the war between elf and goblin and the true name of the Goblin King, known only as Majesty. Also adding to the drama and complexity is the sudden appearance of a third player in the war, one who can only be defeated by faith. The elves and goblins must combine forces to battle this enemy, but the elves are stubborn and their leader bears a burden of shame and guilt that could jeopardise the whole mission.

This book has many themes. The selflessness of friendship and love, the strength of faith, the need to know who you are and the nature of right and wrong are the most important ones.

If the book has one failing, it is that not all loose ends are tied up. Anne Hamilton introduces some extra talents for both Robby and Chris that end up amounting to nothing. Aside from that, it is a good book and one that I would recommend for more mature readers who are looking for a bit of depth.

Laura (aged 14)

Written in the style of CS Lewis, with a dash of Tolkien and a sprinkling of Lewis Carroll, Many-Coloured Realm has just what it takes to become a fantasy classic.

Delightful, zany, captivating and quirky are some descriptions that immediately leap to mind. Robbie and Chris are two ordinary children who enter the goblin realm to rescue Chris’ step brother, Stephen.

They are never endowed with magic powers; they never become super heroes; they always remain themselves but throughout the adventure they grow, learn and discover that it often hard to discern who is good and who is evil.

When what appears to be a tragic ending turns out quite differently, we have reassurance that all things really do work together for good, even when it appears otherwise.

I do not intend to ruin your enjoyment of this intricately layered book by giving away any spoilers so I will merely give a couple of proverbs from the walls of the goblins’ bedroom. ‘If covers told you all about books, then trolls and elves could be judged by their looks.’ ‘It is not fair to treat individuals UNequally, but it is not fair to treat them equally either.’

Dell Sadler ~ CALEB Reviews

‘Expect the unexpected,’ it says on the back of the book and that is certainly true. Inside these pages you will find a plot with lots of twists and turns and a vast cast of characters that include elves and goblins, a penguin that flies and various other creatures as well as humans. Add to that a time element as Robby and Chris seek to save Stephen, Chris’ brother, before time runs out and you have a book guaranteed to have you turning the pages.

If you liked A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle I suggest you will also like Many-Coloured Realm. Not that is similar in plot but it does contain the same complexity of language and ideas as L’Engle’s work and encompasses various other disciplines like poetry and maths.

I’ve read several of Anne’s nonfiction books like The Singing Silence, The Winging Word and The Listening Land, and I have always been amazed at her breadth of knowledge and the amount of research that goes into them. In this, Many-Coloured Realm is no different. It contains faint echoes of some of the themes raised in those books. It is written in a numerical literary style but that’s something you’re not conscious of as a reader because you are too involved in the story.

The prologue plunges the reader right into action from a previous time before transporting the reader back to the present and Robby and the poetry project Robby, Neil and Stephen were meant to be working on. But then the police arrive because Stephen has gone missing.

Where could he be? And does his disappearance have anything to do with the argument between Stephen and Neil over the bezoar ring. That evening Robby hears someone call her name. ‘Robby stared at the dancing figure. It had wings.’

Robby tries to follow Neil after he tells her he comes from,’ the other side of yesterday.’ That’s when she finds herself, along with Stephen’s brother Chris who followed her, in a strange place filled with strange characters and the clock ticking to save Stephen who has a limited amount of air in the spherical immurement where he is imprisoned. Robby and Chris have an hour to find a way to save Stephen. After that they have then to find their way back home. The significance of the prologue becomes evident as the story unfolds.

Because of the complexity of the plot and the large cast of characters, this is a book I suspect that having read it once, you will want to go back and read again to gain full benefit and to pick up all those little details and nuances you missed first time round. This book will appeal to thoughtful fantasy readers.

The only thing I would have liked was a list of the characters I could have referred to as other fantasy books often have. It would help when there are unfamiliar names, like Artemys, Thuric, Tamarlane, Avignerne, Aquitaine, and Caesarea, just to mention a few.

Wombat Books are to be congratulated on another interesting addition to their eclectic range .

Dale Harcombe ~ Pass It On reviews

This is a really good book but I have to say I did find the first part of the book very confusing. Some of the characters confused me as well as what they were saying but if you persist everything is explained and it all makes so much more sense. Once everything is explained the book flowed so much quicker for me and I just wanted to know what would happen next. I grew up with the Narnia series and read it so many times. This book is in the same vein and will captivate readers. Loved seeing the different characters and the issues Robbie and Chris have to deal with. I can see this book being very popular with teens and young adults who love fantasy. This is a good read but if you are finding it confusing at first persist as you will find the more you read the more you understand and will be so glad you persisted.

ausjenny

Reviews of Merlin’s Wood

(1)

I just finished reading Merlin’s Wood by Anne Hamilton. Merlin’s Wood was a really interesting book. It’s about a girl called Holly and a boy called Reece. Reece and Holly are brother and sister.  Together they accidently travel to another world. They have lots of adventures while trying to get back home. There they meet animals that they trust and become friends.

I love books like these. I liked how the story was written because Anne Hamilton used good words and she kind of made the story go backwards while it was going forwards.  I could imagine everything that was going on in the book perfectly.

I really enjoyed this book and I recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of adventure and mystery.

Jessica Deed (age 11 years)

(2)

There are books you begin and put down halfway through, and some you read once and remember fondly.  Occasionally you come across a book you read in an afternoon because you can’t put it down.  Very rarely you find one you read over several times, and each time you are transported to another world.  Merlin’s Wood is in this last category for me.

And no, it’s not about King Arthur.  It does have trees in it, but not always the way you expect.  It has aliens, but more in the feel of C.S. Lewis than television robot wars.  Also Anne Hamilton brings out the strangeness of the cultural differences which sometimes gets forgotten.  Imaginative, insightful, and with suspense that will glue you to each page, Merlin’s Wood is about real life relationships, learning to forgive, and of course, names.

The characters come vividly to life as you experience with them their thoughts, feelings and adventures.  Full of detailed descriptions, the book leaps into pictures in my mind.  (I want a bathroom like Tamizel’s…)

Did I mention that Merlin’s Wood is aimed at older children?  I have a few of my own in that age group, but, as with Anne Hamilton’s other books, the truths underlying the story are applicable to any age.  I look forward to seeing a sequel.  A warning, though; reading this book may make you think twice about the names you call yourself!

Alison Collins, CALEB Reviews


1 Comment

  1. Many-coloured realm is one of my new favourite books!
    At first I thought it was a little strange, but as i continued to read it, I couldn’t stop! In fact, I got in trouble because I stayed up late reading it! Thank you so much for writing this wonderful, amazing book! Oh and my favourite character is the flying penguin, Artemys ( but isn’t that a girls name?)
    Thanks… But I was wondering, in the prolouge, who was Bronwena?
    Form Anita who is now searching for more of your amazing books!

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