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The Myth Hunters: Book 1 of The Veil    by Christopher Golden order for
Myth Hunters
by Christopher Golden
Order:  USA  Can
Spectra, 2006 (2006)

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*   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

It's the eve of what should be the happiest day of Oliver Bascombe's life. He's getting married the next day, but this joyous occasion isn't quite as cheerful as one would expect. Although Oliver has his beloved sister by his side, and he loves his fiancée, he can't help but think that something's off. Is he marrying Julianna because he really wants to, or because his father wants him to? Throughout his entire life, Oliver has never been able to stand up to his father. If he goes through with the wedding, he fears his life will cease being his own.

Such are his inner musings that dark night, as the storm blows fiercely outside his father's house. But the snow isn't the only thing slipping in through the window. While Oliver struggles with his troubled thoughts, an icy legend appears in the middle of the parlor. The man, if he can even be called that, is Jack Frost. He's being hunted by a dark, terrifying presence, and he needs Oliver's help. But to aid him, Oliver must leave behind everything he knows. He must step through a magical barrier into a world populated by myth, legend and the inexplicable, face demons darker than he's ever imagined, and find an inner courage he never knew he had.

Golden is a talented writer, with a particular aptitude for world building. His descriptions are oddly whimsical with a touch of the outlandish woven in for good measure. The strength of the book comes from Golden's ability to paint a spellbinding picture. Unfortunately, that same strength is also a major weakness as the plot gets lost in the pretty words. So much time is spent depicting the surroundings in minute detail that the pace of the story halts for pages at a time while intricate descriptions abound.

The characters also suffer from lack of development. From the beginning of his surreal adventure, Oliver is unsure of himself. He follows Frost because he has to, not because he wants to, and he complains the entire time. At first Oliver wants to get out from under his father's thumb, but when the opportunity presents itself, he only wants to run back home, where it's safe. Sure, his new surroundings are bizarre to say the least, but Oliver never comes across as a willing participant in the events unfolding around him, and his habitual insecurity makes it hard to convince the reader that he's hero material.

In addition, the abrupt ending left me feeling as though the book finished in mid-story. I flipped through the pages at the back thinking perhaps I had an incomplete edition, but that wasn't the case. I understand a sequel is planned, and recommend waiting until it's available before reading The Myth Hunters, as otherwise the ending will likely prove frustrating.

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