Charlie Sparks: A Sorcerer’s Tale – A Trip to the Colorful World of Silver Springs
Remember those days when you picked up your favorite fantasy novel and simply admired the worlds that the author has created within the pages of the book? These novels transported you to well-thought out worlds where creatures of all sorts roamed, and provided a worthy escape from the drab reality of everyday life. I have many good memories of such books, and it is a treat that I found out about C.N. Tan’s debut novel Charlie Sparks: A Sorcerer’s Tale.
Charlie Sparks is a coming-of-age fantasy novel published by Make Believe Publications about a young man chosen to save the six sorcerdoms from the threat of the Dragon of Omega, who plots to get his hands on what they call the Flaming Flower. Our hero is joined by his best friend Vaughn and a dwarf fairy named Eliza as they travel across the lands of sorcerers, in an adventure that will determine the future of the whole sorcery world. It is your typical coming-of-age tale that borrows tropes from other well-established fantasy novels, which its target audience (kids to pre-teens) won’t really think much about anyway.
What’s impressive about Charlie Sparks is the diversity of the universe that Tan has created. You could almost feel the tender loving care he had given in the process of creating the sorcery world. The novel has got historian Cyclops, vines absolutely fear heights that are used as seatbelts in aviary trips, stone-like ogres, minute fairy ladies with boyish features, literal shoes of giants used as houses—I could go on for a while! Each of the six sorcerdoms has their own characteristics that make them unique, which adds to the diverse feel of the novel. Reading the novel felt like an encyclopedia of magical creatures; an experience made even better by the illustrations adequately scattered throughout the book, by Oliver Barcelon.
(Wanna have your own prophecy, just like Charlie? This one‘s for you.)
One major complaint I have about Charlie Sparks is the lack of character development, particularly to justify how Charlie shifted from an ordinary, socially-irrelevant boy to a charismatic diplomat and courageous king. Usually it would take quite a while for young heroes to get accustomed to the pressures of being the whole world’s only hope, but Charlie seemed to have accepted his responsibilities with unrealistic ease and grace. What could have occurred in two or even three novels was compressed into a single fast-paced one.
It’s probably worth mentioning that this was a novel written when C.N. Tan was a mere 11-year-old by, and that’s amazing considering the vividness of the sorcery world. Charlie Sparks: A Sorcerer’s Tale is still worth buying if you want to transport yourself into colorful magical world. Plus, it’s always a great service to the local publishing scene to buy works by Filipino authors. For what it aims to be, Charlie Sparks delivers well with its vivid world and overall sense of adventure. It’s definitely a book to buy for bunso!
(Are you in need of another thing to go with your purchase of Charlie Sparks? Check out this list!)
Charlie Sparks: A Sorcerer’s Tale
Check out the author at his website here
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