The Rover by Mel Odom


FantasyThe rover The RoverMel Odom; Tor 2001WorldCat

Wick, the Dweller, is a third-level Librarian at the Great Library hidden away behind the Blood Sea at Greydawn Moors. He has been passed over numerous times for a promotion and has been chided for filling his head with sensational historical knowledge rather than trying to understand and preserve all the knowledge that is shut away there.

The Grandmagister sends Wick to the docks with a special package. The library never lends out its books, but this package looks like a book. Wick’s curiosity takes over and rather than returning immediately to the Library he spies on the package. Next thing he knows, he has been knocked over the head and shanghaied by the Blood Sea pirates.

Now Wick is thrown into adventures like the things he has read about. He knows he has to preserve this new knowledge, so he starts keeping a diary. That gives him problems because few people outside of Greydawn Moors can read, making him a suspicious character. Then the fantastic creatures that have been around since the Catastrophe show up – boneblights, embyrs, goblin slave owners, elves, thieves, and wizards. How is a lowly third-level Librarian supposed to deal with this world that only existed in books before now?

The Rover is a charming, alluring fantasy novel. Dwellers are small people – looking like humans in miniature. They are the ones who are downtrodden, enslaved, and cast aside when out of Greydawn Moors. They aren’t brave or special – ask Wick. He would tell you that he is nothing special, either, just able to read and lucky.

This world Odom has created is well drawn with more potential of discovery. It was turned around when the Goblin King created the Catastrophe so long ago that most people don’t believe in it any more. The Library is more important than it first seems. Wick is a believable character who is able to use his knowledge to become the unexpected hero. Once I started getting into The Rover and Wick’s world, I had trouble putting the book down. I have one complaint – the end was abrupt. Wick is still in the middle of danger not more than ten pages from the end. When the danger is over, there is nothing about Wick’s return to the Library other than what happens after he arrives. It was as if Odom had all the story laid out except the very end – so he cut it off. Don’t let that bother you, though. This fantasy is a good read.

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