Home / Writers index / News and Reviews

Book Review: The Enchanted Necklace by James Bradley Clarke

 

Fantasy is very much imbedded in the imaginations of our younger generations. What with the resurgence of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, countless games on various consoles, and of course (for those a little older) Game of Thrones, it’s not surprising that they are drawn to a genre with unlimited possibilities. James Bradley Clarke’s first novel, The Enchanted Necklace, which begins his Nordic Princess Saga, fits comfortably into this current trend and indeed may serve to attract younger readers into the vast possibilities of this fantastic genre.

Set in the Nordic regions of Norway and Denmark, Clarke draws inspiration from the Norse mythological stories he used to tell his daughters at bed-time. The story begins with Silya, a curious young princess, who strays from the safety of her father’s kingdom with her horse and herd of goats. She angers, and injures, the troll Morlock who attacks the castle in response. He is forced to retreat, but not before swearing he will have his revenge.

This allows the evil Loki, his wife Sigyn, and son Fenrir, to capitalise on the unrest of the trolls and other beasts from Norse mythology. His plan is simple, kidnap Silya and the visiting Princess of Denmark, Hedda, and use them in retaliation to the wrongs he feels he has suffered at the hands of the Gods who dwell in Asgard. His trickery and evil desires are well-matched by the brave and defiant Silya who refuses to give in to him, culminating in an epic battle between good and evil.

Being a children’s story, The Enchanted Necklace could be enjoyed individually, or as part of a shared experience. But given the personal nature of this tale, I have the inclination that Clarke meant for it to be read collectively. The writing style allows the reader to create different personalities for the characters and the voices that may go with them; it’s like it was destined to be read aloud. Perfect for bed-time. I can only imagine the dreams it may inspire!

Clarke’s strength is in his characterisation and has created many endearing characters that all children (and adults) will be able to relate to. Look out particularly for Ratotosk, the gossiping Squirrel. This little creature has enough charisma to keep the children hooked! He is reminiscent of Frozen’s immensely popular Olaf but with a heavy dosing of Narnia’s Reepicheep.

Will Clarke break his way into the fantasy literary canon? Only time can tell. But what he certainly does is build bridges. The passion for reading often fades as children get older. Like so many popular children’s writers before him, Clarke understands that the true essence of reading is in the imagination. The Enchanted Necklace, the first in what is sure to be a number of books in this saga, offers children the opportunity to expand their imaginations, and branch off into other strands of literature. Sometimes it feels like reading is a dying art in young people- the Enchanted Necklace keeps the flame burning.

Click here to begin your journey with The Enchanted Necklace

Written by Robert Horton

 

2 comments (Add your own)

1. James Bradley Clarke wrote:
As the author, I must say Mr. Horton is a careful reader and an insightful reviewer. He truly understands my intent for the book to serve as a bedtime story that will inspire children to use their imagination. Mr. Horton also notes the theme of bravery and fortitude that I embedded into the story to encourage children to believe in themselves and to have the strength to ask adults for help during dangerous times. I hope parents will take a chance on The Enchanted Necklace as something special they can share with their children at bedtime or on a rainy afternoon.

JBC

02/06/2016 @ 3:36 PM

2. Robert Horton wrote:
Thank you JBC, for both The Enchanted Necklace, and the kind words above.

RH

02/06/2016 @ 8:26 PM

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.