BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A society of knights dedicated to protect a Yggdrasil like tree quest across the land in order to save it and oppose enemies known and unknown.
PROS: Excellent misc-en-scene and detail; egalitarian society at heart of novel most welcome.
CONS: Several coincidences and turns of plot are awfully convenient; some character arcs feel like missed opportunities; a repeated typographical error was more than a little annoying.
BOTTOM LINE: An imperfect but entertaining start to a new epic fantasy writer.
A tree at the center of creation, an egalitarian set of knights set to protect it, and a ghastly attack that threatens the health of the world are the stakes in Heartwood, a debut epic fantasy novel from Freya Robertson.
New Zealand author Freya Robertson is the author of Heartstone, the first in the Elemental Wars series out from Angry Robot Books. You can find her online at her website, FreyaRobertson.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter as @EpicFreya.
Freya was kind enough to answer a few questions about her and her work.
About the Series:
Fun with Friends is an SF Signal interview series in which I feature fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand. The format is one interview per month, with no more than five questions per interview, focusing on “who the author is” and “what she/he does” in writing terms. This month’s guest is Freya Robertson.
Freya Robertson is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots.
She has published over twenty romance novels under other pseudonyms and won prizes in fifteen short story and poetry competitions. Freya lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world.
Helen: Freya, Heartwood is your debut Fantasy novel, which you’ve described to me as a traditional, quest-based epic fantasy. What do you feel makes it fresh for readers?
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Freya Robertson is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots. Freya lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world. She is the author of the colection Augur and of the new novel Heartwood. You can find her online at her website as well as on Twitter as @EpicFreya and on Facebook.
by Freya Robertson
I totally blame my dad for turning me into a geek. When I was young, in the seventies and early eighties, he watched every cheesy television show on TV. You name it, Dad watched it, to the exasperation of my mother, who rarely got to see the documentaries and news shows she preferred. No, I was raised on a diet of Mork & Mindy, The A-Team, Tom Baker’s Doctor Who, Star Trek, The Waltons, Thunderbirds…I watched a lot of TV.
Here are ten more of the best-and worst-shows that turned me into the nerdy girl I am today.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
We asked this week’s panelists about what they are reading.
Here’s what is on the bedside tables of our respondents:
My Mount To-be-read is actually very short, and that’s because I usually don’t buy books unless I know I’m going to have the time to read them – with one exception. I’m still making my way through Reine De Memoire 1. La Maison D’Oubli, by Elisabeth Vonarburg. It’s an excellent book, so far, but the difficulty is that I’m reading it in French, and I don’t read French nearly as fast as I read English. Because it’s been years since I read much in French, each time I pick it up it takes a few minutes and pages before I get into any sort of flow… and because she writes in a certain depth… well, I do need the dictionary, I confess. The other books currently on my very short mountain, perhaps better named Hill To-be-read, are Kay Kenyon’s A Thousand Perfect Things, Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, and at the bottom… Brandon Sanderson’s The Emperor’s Soul, which I’ve had for almost a year and somehow never picked up.