Moonwise

Greer Ilene Gilman, Author
Greer Ilene Gilman, Author Roc $4.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-451-45094-4
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Newcomer Gilman's tale of magic and questing traverses the realm of fantasy into utter nonsense. When Ariane and her friend and teacher Sylvie perform a mysterious ritual in the woods in the dead of night, Sylvie suddenly vanishes ``into the dark beyond.'' Ariane sets off with an inscrutable child called Craobh and a tinker to find her companion and restore the universe to rights. Unnecessarily convoluted, this novel offers the reader little incentive to unravel overwritten prose that tries to pass for profound. One passage opens: ``Half waking in the night, Ariane thought that Sylvie wound and wound the skein of autumn from her hands. Cloudwarp, said the dream: and moonwise, turn and turn about, they span the whorled and knotted stuff.'' And so the story drags on, leaving one with the indelible impression that Gilman's bag of wizardry gimmicks (such as the appearance of a demon or witch) and pointless linguistic tricks (like using the name of the epic hero Gilgamesh as an adverb--``She went slowly, gilgamesh, gilgamesh . . .''p. 185 ) represents little more than a futile effort to disguise this novel's lack of genuine creativity. (Feb.)
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